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Achalasia - Retained Food in Esophagus

This short video was taken during a gastroscopy examination of the esophagus in a 52 year old women who came to the doctor because she was having problems swallowing her food. The symptoms began about a year before, but were mild and infrequent. In the last 3 months, she began having more frequent and severe symptoms. Every time she swallowed, it felt like the food was sticking in her esophagus and not going down into her stomach. She often could not finish a meal and began to lose weight. Sometimes, she would find yesterday's undigested food on her pillow in the morning. She feared that she had cancer of the esophagus. Instead, her tests revealed that she had Achalasia, a disorder of the esophagus which affects about 1 in 10,000 adults. In this rare condition, the "valve" between the esophagus and stomach fails to open fully preventing food from entering the stomach. Food then accumulates in the esophagus. In this video, you can see the retained food particles in the esophagus from a meal eaten 15 hours earlier. Once an accurate diagnosis was made, laparoscopic surgery was performed to release the valve and her symptoms improved.

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Three Rivers Endoscopy Scope Cam

Food Retained in the Esophagus

Text & Images Courtesy of Three Rivers Endoscopy Center
© Dr. Robert Fusco, Three Rivers Endoscopy Center, All Rights Reserved

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