Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Cardiac Achalasia Anatomy

To better understand achalasia, it helps to understand the anatomy of the esophagus and stomach.

The esophagus is a muscular tube that propels food from the mouth, to the stomach. It begins in the pharynx, just below the base of the tongue, and passes through the chest, next to the spine. It then passes through the diaphragm before emptying into the stomach.

The bottom of the esophagus opens during swallowing, and then closes after the food has entered the stomach. This prevents food from leaking back into the esophagus.

Anatomy examples:

  • Junction of esophagus and stomach
  • Entire intestinal tract

Last Updated: Nov 1, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cardiac Achalasia References
  1. Garofalo JH, Pofahl WE. Achalasia: a brief review of treatment options and efficacy. Curr Surg. 2002 Nov-Dec;59(6):549-53. [1609319]
  2. Nguyen NQ, Holloway RH. Recent developments in esophageal motor disorders. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2005 Jul;21(4):478-84. [15930992]
  3. Woltman TA, Pellegrini CA, Oelschlager BK. Achalasia. Surg Clin North Am. 2005 Jun;85(3):483-93. [15927645]
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