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Esophageal Motility Disorders


Kristle Lee Lynch

, MD, Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania

Last full review/revision Sep 2020| Content last modified Sep 2020
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Esophageal motility disorders involve dysfunction of the esophagus that causes symptoms such as dysphagia, heartburn, and chest pain.

Primary esophageal causes of dysmotility include

Systemic disorders causing esophageal dysmotility include

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 because they largely cause oropharyngeal dysphagia and not esophageal dysphagia.

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 gastrointestinal endoscopy, barium swallow, esophageal manometry, acid- and reflux-related tests, and/or impedance planimetry. Impedance planimetry is a new technology that simultaneously measures the area across the inside of the esophagus and the pressure inside in the lumen.

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