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Obstructive Disorders of the Esophagus

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

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Patient Education

Most esophageal obstruction develops slowly and is incomplete when patients first seek care, typically for difficulty swallowing solids. However, sometimes complete esophageal obstruction develops suddenly because of an impacted esophageal foreign body or food bolus.

Obstruction may have intrinsic or extrinsic causes.

Intrinsic obstruction may be caused by

Extrinsic obstruction may be caused by compression resulting from

For evaluation of potential esophageal obstruction, see Dysphagia.