Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Dysphagia Anatomy

Esophagus Anatomy
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: Dec 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Dysphagia References
  1. Achem SR, Devault KR. Dysphagia in aging. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 May-Jun;39(5):357-71. [15815202]
  2. Cook IJ, Kahrilas PJ. AGA technical review on management of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Gastroenterology. 1999 Feb;116(2):455-78. [9922328]
  3. Leslie P, Drinnan MJ, Ford GA, Wilson JA. Swallow respiratory patterns and aging: presbyphagia or dysphagia? J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 Mar;60(3):391-5. [15860480]
  4. Rubenstein JH, Inadomi JM. Dysphagia drives doctors to diagnose a disease: pitfalls in interpreting observational studies. Gastrointest Endosc. 2005 Jun;61(7):809-11. [15933680]
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