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Esophageal Motility Disorders

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by Michael C. DiMarino, MD

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

Evaluation depends on the patient's presenting symptoms and may include upper GI endoscopy, barium swallow, esophageal manometry, and/or acid- and reflux-related tests (see Diagnostic and Therapeutic GI Procedures).

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