Table of Contents
Esophageal Spasm Definition
Nonfunctional and often painful contractions of the muscles that line the wall of the ESOPHAGUS. The main symptom of esophageal SPASM is difficult and painful swallowing. The spasms may involve only one portion of the esophagus or the entire length of the esophagus. Doctors do not know what causes esophageal spasm, though eating foods or drinking beverages that are extremely hot or extremely cold often triggers a spasm.
Esophageal Diagnostic path and treatment
The diagnostic path often includes manometry, a procedure that measures pressures within the esophagus. Treatment options include medications to relax smooth MUSCLE such as nitrates and calcium channel antagonist (blocker) medications. BOTULINUM THERAPY, in which botulinum toxin injected into portions of the esophagus to paralyze it, relieves symptoms in many people.
See also ESOPHAGITIS.