Dysphagia and Odynophagia

General Principles

  • Oropharyngeal dysphagia consists of difficulty in transferring food from the mouth to the esophagus, often associated with nasopharyngeal regurgitation and aspiration. Neuromuscular and, less commonly, structural disorders involving the pharynx and proximal esophagus are typical causes.1
  • Esophageal dysphagia is the sensation of impairment in passage of food down the tubular esophagus. Etiologies include obstructive processes (e.g., webs, rings, esophagitis, neoplasia) or esophageal motor disorders.2
  • Odynophagia is pain on swallowing food and fluids and may indicate the presence of esophagitis, particularly infectious esophagitis or pill esophagitis.

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