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Dysphagia Lusoria

By Michael C. DiMarino, MD, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University

Dysphagia lusoria is difficulty swallowing caused by compression of the esophagus by an abnormally formed blood vessel, which is present at birth.

Dysphagia lusoria is a birth defect. However, the swallowing difficulty may not appear until childhood or later in life, because that is when degenerative changes occur in the abnormally formed blood vessel. A barium swallow x-ray (see X-Ray Studies) shows the compression, but angiography (injecting a blood vessel with a dye that can be seen on x-rays) is necessary for an accurate diagnosis. Most people require no treatment, but surgical repair is sometimes done.

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