What is the role of CT scanning in the workup of esophageal spasm?

Updated: Aug 07, 2019
  • Author: Ahmad Malas, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Nino-Murcia and colleagues demonstrated thickening of the esophagus with CT scan studies in patients with esophageal spasm. [10] Muscular hypertrophy has been documented in some patients with diffuse esophageal spasm and nutcracker esophagus. The hypertrophy of the muscle wall is the cause of the increased thickness that is observed on CT scan images. The normal thickness of the esophagus is less than 3 mm.

Many other disease processes, including malignancy, cause thickening of the esophagus that can be seen radiographically. Thus, thickening of the esophagus seen on CT scan images should prompt further workup. Even in patients with symptoms consistent with esophageal spasm, thickening seen on CT scan images should not be dismissed as muscular hypertrophy secondary to the esophageal spasms without further investigation.

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