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Esophageal Diseases

Esophageal Diseases

The esophagus is the muscular tube inside the neck that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. When a person swallows a bite of food, he or she can easily feel the esophageal muscles pushing it down the throat and into the stomach.

If a procedure is required to either diagnose or treat an esophageal disorder, the procedure will be performed at our state-of-the-art endoscopy suite located at Temple University Hospital.

To schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Temple Health Center City, click here or call 215-707-9900.

Esophageal Conditions & Treatments

  • Achalasia - Achalasia is rare chronic disease that impedes a person's ability to swallow. The condition gradually weakens the esophageal muscles until they can no longer push food into the stomach. It also creates a constriction at the point where the esophagus meets the stomach, thus blocking most food from passing through. Depending on how far achalasia has progressed, treatment options include medications, BOTOX injections or special surgeries. Learn more about achalasia and its treatments at Temple.
  • Barrett's esophagus - In Barrett's esophagus, part of the esophagus' inner lining is replaced by tissue from the intestines. While this alone does not always cause symptoms, it can significantly raise the risk for a rare and deadly cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma. Barrett's esophagus is also related to a more common condition called GERD, discussed below.

    Treatment of Barrett's esophagus usually involves taking a proton pump inhibitor—a medication that reduces acid production. During treatment, most patients undergo regular screenings to detect—as early as possible—if Barrett's esophagus has progressed to dysplasia (pre-cancer) or esophageal cancer. Learn more about Barrett's esophagus and its treatments at Temple.
  • GERD - The main symptom of acid reflux is a burning sensation, very commonly felt in the chest or throat, that occurs when digestive juices rise into the esophagus. GERD, a rarer and more serious type of acid reflux, is diagnosed in patients who experience persistent acid reflux more than twice per week. When left untreated, GERD can cause bleeding, ulcers or scars inside the esophagus, leading to a range of potential health problems. Learn more about GERD and its treatments at Temple.
  • Esophageal cancer - Esophageal cancer occurs in two main forms. More frequent are esophageal adenocarcinomas, which usually result from untreated GERD or Barrett's esophagus. The rarer form, squamous cell esophageal cancer, has been linked to smoking and drinking alcohol. Temple's gastroenterologists are nationally recognized pioneers in the fight against esophageal cancer. Their treatment plans often involve a combination of minimally invasive surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Learn more about how Temple treats esophageal cancer.

Diagnostic Procedures for Esophageal Diseases

The following diagnostic procedures for esophageal diseases are performed at Temple University Hospital:
  • Esophageal manometry is a test that measures the function and strength of the esophageal muscles. It is used to diagnose achalasia and GERD, as well as determine whether chest pains are rooted in the esophagus or the heart. Learn more about esophageal manometry.
  • Esophageal pH monitoring is a test for measuring the effectiveness of medications that prevent acid reflux. It is often used to diagnose GERD, or to determine whether a specific medication is proving useful against GERD.  Learn more about esophageal pH monitoring.
To schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Temple Health Center City, click here or call 215-707-9900.