Esophageal obstruction is caused by benign or malignant lesions within the lumen, wall or outside the wall of the esophagus. These lesions block the passage of food leading to dysphagia with consequent nutritional deficiencies. The diagnosis of the condition depends on history, clinical examination, esophagoscopy, and radiological investigations.
Esophageal obstruction can be complete or partial and is caused by benign or malignant tumors or foreign bodies located within the lumen, wall (intramural) or outside the wall (extrinsic obstruction) of the esophagus. Intraluminal causes besides the above-mentioned etiologies include strictures secondary to corrosive ingestion, esophagitis (secondary to gastroesophageal reflux or infections) and esophageal webs which can be congenital or acquired. Intramural tumors can cause obstruction by narrowing the esophagus. Similarly, extrinsic factors like thyromegaly, cervical swellings, anomalous blood vessels (dysphagia lusoria), aneurysms of the aorta, left atrial enlargement, vertebral osteophytes, and malignant pulmonary tumors can compress the esophagus leading to obstruction of its lumen.
Patients present with progressively increasing dysphagia to either solids or liquids depending upon the etiology of the obstruction. In malignant lesions, the dysphagia to solids is the initial symptom, progressing to semi-solids and finally to liquids . Anorexia, loss of appetite, weight loss, asthenia and nutritional deficiencies develop over a period of time. Drooling may be noticed if there is a complete luminal obstruction. This leads eventually to cachexia and influences the patient's quality and duration of life  . The nutritional status in these patients determines the prognosis . Patients with partial esophageal obstruction may have a sensation of food or foreign body getting stuck in the throat.
Entire Body System
The median dysphagia score dropped from 3 (able to eat liquids only) to 1 (some dysphagia with solid food), and seven of the eight patients had an improvement of at least two grades of dysphagia. Mean survival was 87 days (range 17-226). [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Elderly patients are at especially at risk because they often have few teeth.  Odynophagia Partial obstruction of the esophagus can cause odynophagia.  Sialorrhea Sialorrhea refers to excessive accumulation of saliva, because patients cannot swallow [explainmedicine.com]
A blockage of the esophagus may cause a number of symptoms including discomfort or pain when eating and swallowing ( odynophagia ), difficulty swallowing ( dysphagia ) and regurgitation. [healthhype.com]
There may be pain or discomfort during eating and swallowing, a condition referred to as odynophagia. Difficulty in swallowing (technically known as dysphagia) may occur. In some cases, regurgitation of food may also occur. [phaa.com]
They may also suffer from chest pain, neck pain, regurgitation of food, or painful swallowing ( odynophagia ).  Patients with esophageal food boluses are also at risk of complications, such as perforation of the esophagus, and aspiration into the lungs [en.wikipedia.org]
Presentation includes chest or throat discomfort, dysphagia or odynophagia, and difficulty managing oral secretions, such as choking and drooling, refusal to eat, vomiting, wheezing, blood-stained saliva, or respiratory distress, heartburn, cough, abdominal [appliedradiology.com]
A case report is presented of an 86-year-old man in a very poor general condition with a 10-year history of a Zenker's diverticulum as a cause of a complete obstruction of the esophagus with subsequent aphagia and massive cachexia. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
[…] esophagorespiratory fistulae, diverticula, epithelial inclusion cysts. esophageal atresia congenital lack of continuity of the esophagus, commonly accompanied by tracheoesophageal fistula, and characterized by accumulations of mucus in the nasopharynx, gagging [medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
[…] moves up through a small opening into the chest— hiatal hernia Chronic inflammation in the esophagus—eosinophilic esophagitis Esophageal cancer or other tumors Symptoms Steakhouse syndrome may cause: Chest pain Difficulty swallowing Drooling Coughing, gagging [winchesterhospital.org]
[…] esophageal sphincter, pylorus, and ileocecal valve. 1, 2, 4 View/Print Table TABLE 1 Symptoms of Esophageal Foreign Bodies Blood in saliva Coughing Drooling Dysphagia/odynophagia Failure to thrive Fever Food refusal Foreign body sensation in throat Gagging [aafp.org]
- Progressive Dysphagia
A 47-year-old man suffered rapidly progressing dysphagia and complete esophageal obstruction secondary to extrinsic compression by mediastinal extension of a pancreatic pseudocyst. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
- Chest Pain
Esophageal ulceration is a common sequelae of EVS with chest pain, stricture, and perforation occurring less frequently. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
pain due to esophageal spasm and obstruction. [explainmedicine.com]
It can be accompanied by a feeling of discomfort in the chest, pain, srygivaniem and vomiting, gipersalivaciej, acidic or bitter belch, loss of body mass index. [omedicine.info]
- Retrosternal Chest Pain
chest pain due to esophageal spasm and obstruction. [explainmedicine.com]
The workup in a case of this disease includes history taking, complete physical and neurological examination, followed by laboratory tests, endoscopic evaluation, and imaging studies. Anamnestic data will provide information on the foreign body or caustic ingestion and details about the onset, duration, progress and degree of dysphagia. Physical examination will help detect nutritional abnormalities, thyromegaly, and cardiac or pulmonary etiology of the swallowing dysfunction. A thorough neurological examination is required to exclude neuromuscular causes of dysphagia.
Laboratory tests such as vitamin B12 levels, thyroid stimulating hormone levels (TSH) and creatine kinase should be ordered as part of the workup.
A plain X-ray chest may reveal a lung tumor or an enlarged left atrium compressing the esophagus. Non-invasive imaging studies like videofluoroscopy  and barium swallow help to diagnose mucosal and obstructive lesions while computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are required to delineate the extent of the obstructive growths and can also detect anomalous blood vessels.
Esophagoscopy is the gold standard test to detect the cause of the esophageal obstruction , to remove a foreign body, dilate a stricture or obtain tissue for histological evaluation.
If gastroesophageal reflux is suspected, then 24 hour pH monitoring will be required to diagnose the cause. Electromyography  and manometry can also be performed if indicated by history and physical examination findings.
- Esophageal Motility Disorder
motility disorders Achalasia and other esophageal motility disorders can precipitate esophageal obstruction.  [explainmedicine.com]
motility disorders esophageal neoplasm very rare except for papilloma and fibropapilloma; causes chronic esophageal obstruction. esophageal obstruction acute obstruction is manifested by inability to swallow, regurgitation of saliva, food and water through [medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
Risk Factors Factors that may increase your chances of steakhouse syndrome: Not chewing your food completely Drinking too much alcohol Wearing dentures Having a physical problem that affects how food moves down the esophagus: Esophageal motility disorder [winchesterhospital.org]
Semin Thorac Cariovasc Surg 1999;11:326-36 70077-8/abstract)/ “Achalasia and esophageal motility disorders,” STS Patient Information, accessed 9-20-06. Rice TW, Baker ME. Midthoracic esophageal diverticula. [my.clevelandclinic.org]
The Chicago Classification of esophageal motility disorders, v3.0. Neurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society. Feb 2015;27(2):160-174. 编辑： 李波 [gi.dxy.cn]
- Cavitary Lesion
Repeat computer tomography scan of the chest after chemotherapy noted a significant decrease in the cavitary lesion in the right paraesophageal region and right mediastinum. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
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