Esophageal Motor Disorders

Esophageal Motor Disorders is a topic covered in the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics.

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General Principles


  • Achalasia is the most significant motor disorder of the esophagus, characterized by failure of the LES to relax completely with swallowing and aperistalsis of the esophageal body.1
  • Esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction is a loosely defined spectrum of motor disorder that can present with findings similar to incomplete achalasia.2
  • Esophageal hypermotility disorders consist of diffuse esophageal spasm, characterized by premature, nonperistaltic contractions in the esophageal body, and hypercontractile disorder (Jackhammer esophagus) characterized by esophageal body contractions of exaggerated contraction vigor.2,3
  • Esophageal hypomotility disorders are characterized by fragmented, ineffective, or absent esophageal peristalsis, sometimes with LES hypomotility, and are associated with reflux symptoms and increased reflux burden.

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