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Esophageal Motility Disorders

By Kristle Lee Lynch, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania

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Patient Education

Esophageal motility disorders involve dysfunction of the esophagus that causes symptoms such as dysphagia, heartburn, and chest pain.

Primary esophageal causes of dysmotility include

Esophageal motility also can be disturbed by systemic disorders such as

Many generalized disorders of neuromuscular function (eg, myasthenia gravis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson disease) can affect swallowing but are not typically classified as esophageal motility disorders.

Symptoms of esophageal motility disorders depend on the cause but typically include difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), chest pain, and/or heartburn.

Evaluation of esophageal motility disorders depends on the patient's presenting symptoms and may include upper GI endoscopy, barium swallow, esophageal manometry, and/or acid- and reflux-related tests.