The esophagus is a tube-shaped muscle that connects your throat to your stomach. Sometimes, the esophagus muscle and opening become weak, resulting in esophageal disease.
Unfortunately, esophageal disease isn’t always seen on an upper endoscopy alone. Motility disorders, abnormal esophageal inflammation, non-acid reflux and impaired gastroesophageal relaxation all require advanced diagnostic techniques.
Risk factors for esophageal disease
Esophageal conditions can affect patients of all ages. Adolescents and young patients may develop conditions such as eosinophilic esophagitis while middle-age and older patients may develop esophageal strictures, rings and motility disorders such as achalasia. Patients with conditions such as scleroderma, asthma and lichen planus are at a higher risk of developing swallowing disorders.
Diagnosing esophageal disease
At HonorHealth, we have a variety of tools available for the diagnosis and management of esophageal disease:
- Radiographic imaging, such as a barium esophagram, can often be a good first step.
- Most patients require endoscopy for diagnosis and treatment.
- Esophageal manometry (also called esophageal motility study) is a test we use for the diagnosis of motility disorders of the esophagus.
Manometry is an excellent tool, but some patients may have difficulty with this procedure, so we also offer a sedated esophageal motility assessment alternative. This procedure uses a lumen imaging probe and is performed during sedated upper endoscopy. HonorHealth is one of the few health systems in the nation to offer this assessment tool.
This technology gives us dedicated information regarding the mechanical properties of the esophageal wall and opening dynamics of the esophagogastric junction that objectively helps evaluate esophageal motility disorders, eosinophilic esophagitis and esophageal strictures. It also provides accurate esophageal characterization, which can assist with targeted surgery and assessment of post-surgical states.
What to expect during your visit
When you see an HonorHealth esophageal specialist, you’ll receive an in-depth care plan that’s made with you in mind. You’ll learn the:
- Potential causes of your symptoms
- Plan for diagnosis and treatment
- Diagnostic approach that will be used in your care
In many cases, we can diagnose and treat conditions in a single procedural session.
What to expect after treatment
After treatment, you can expect to see immediate improvement of your symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, painful swallowing, heartburn or regurgitation. Occasionally, medications are an adjunct therapy to improve symptoms. However, for some patients a single therapeutic procedure can provide long-term symptom relief.