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the musculomembranous passage extending from the pharynx to the stomach, 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 in) long in an adult, consisting of an outer fibrous coat, a muscular layer, a submucous layer, and an inner mucous membrane. The junction between the stomach and esophagus is closed by a muscular ring known as the cardiac sphincter, which opens to allow the passage of food into the stomach. See also digestive system and Plates.
Disorders of the Esophagus. The most common disorders of the esophagus often involve either an obstruction or a backward flow of food and gastric juice (gastroesophageal reflux). Foreign bodies, accidentally swallowed and lodged in the esophageal passage, can obstruct the flow of foods and fluids, as can malignant or benign tumors. The term achalasia is used to describe a particular disturbance in motility which leads to obstruction at the level of the cardiac sphincter.

Esophagitis, inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the esophagus, may occur in conjunction with gastroenteritis or as a result of reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus. The symptoms of hiatal hernia are due in large part to this type of reflux. Hiatal hernia is a protrusion of the stomach, colon, or other intestinal organs through the esophageal hiatus, a narrow opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus normally passes. When the herniation occurs the normal downward passage of food is interrupted.

Esophageal varices are varicose veins of the esophagus and occur most often as a result of obstruction in the portal circulation, especially in portal hypertension. They are potentially dangerous since they tend to rupture easily and may result in serious hemorrhage. Visual examination of the interior lining of the esophagus is accomplished by esophagoscopy.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


, pl.


(ĕ-sof'ă-gŭs, -jī), [TA]
The portion of the alimentary canal between the pharynx and stomach. It is about 25-cm long and consists of three parts: the cervical part, from the cricoid cartilage to the thoracic inlet; the thoracic part, from the thoracic inlet to the diaphragm; and the abdominal part, below the diaphragm to the cardiac opening of the stomach.
[G. oisophagos, gullet]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012




n. pl. esopha·gi (-jī′, -gī′)
The muscular tube by which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach; the gullet.

e·soph′a·ge′al (-jē′əl) adj.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


The tubular segment of the upper gastrointestinal tract which connects the mouth with the stomach, spelled oesophagus in the UK and esophagus in the US.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


See Esophageal etc.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, pl. esophagi (ĕ-sof'ă-gŭs, -jī) [TA]
The portion of the digestive canal between the pharynx and stomach. It is about 25 cm long and consists of three parts: the cervical, from the cricoid cartilage to the thoracic inlet; the thoracic, from the thoracic inlet to the diaphragm; and the abdominal, below the diaphragm to the cardiac opening of the stomach.
Synonym(s): oesophagus.
[G. oisophagos, gullet]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(e-sof'a-gus) (-gi?, -ji?) plural.esophagi [Gr. oisophagos]
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ESOPHAGUS: (as seen through an endoscope)
The muscular tube, about 10 to 12 in (25 to 30 cm) long, that carries swallowed foods and liquids from the pharynx to the stomach. In the upper third of the esophagus, the muscle is striated; in the middle third, striated and smooth; and in the lower third, entirely smooth. Peristalsis is regulated by the autonomic nervous system. At the junction with the stomach is the lower esophageal sphincter, which relaxes to permit passage of food, then contracts to prevent backup of stomach contents. esophageal (e-sof?a-je'al), adjective See: illustration

Barrett esophagus

See: Barrett esophagus

black esophagus

Necrotizing esophagitis.
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FOREIGN BODY IN ESOPHAGUS: Meat impaction in the lower esophageal sphincter

foreign bodies in the esophagus

Items trapped in the esophagus (typically fishbones, coins, or large unchewed pieces of food). Parenteral glucagon may help the material pass through the esophageal sphincter to the stomach, but endoscopic retrieval of the material is usually necessary. See: illustration
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners


The tube connecting the throat to the stomach, which is about ten inches long in adults. It is coated with mucus and surrounded by muscles, and pushes food to the stomach by sequential waves of contraction. It functions to transport food from the throat to the stomach and to keep the contents of the stomach in the stomach.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, pl. esophagi (ĕ-sof'ă-gŭs, -jī) [TA]
Portion of alimentary canal between pharynx and stomach. It is about 25-cm long and consists of three parts: the cervical part, from the cricoid cartilage to the thoracic inlet; the thoracic part, from the thoracic inlet to the diaphragm; and the abdominal part, below the diaphragm to the cardiac opening of the stomach.
[G. oisophagos, gullet]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about Esophagus

Q. do we need the esophagus to live? If we were to take our esophagus away would we still live?

A. Principally, yes. Feeding can be done through a hole in the stomach (PEG). Life is possible this way, although one may argue about the quality of life in this situation.

Q. Cn barret esophagous be cured? I was diagnosed with barretts esophagus several years ago, and so far keeps on the routine follow up. I met some other guy with same condition and he told after his doctor prescribed him with some anti-reflux meds, in the last endoscopy they found normal esophagus, and that he thinks he's now cured. Is that possible?

A. Anti-reflux treatment may lower the risk of cancer a little, but it won't cure it, so there's still a need for refular follow-up.

More discussions about Esophagus
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References in periodicals archive ?
Gostout, "The black esophagus," The American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol.
Dellon, "The black esophagus: a rare but deadly disease," ACG Case Reports Journal, vol.
Other potential causes of black esophagus were ruled out histologically.
Underlying conditions that are believed to predispose patients to an ischemic black esophagus include coronary and peripheral vascular diseases, low flow states (e.g., shock), gastric volvulus, gastric-outlet obstruction, pancreatitis, cancer, acute fatty liver of pregnancy, overwhelming infection, severe hypothermia, severe emesis, herpes infection, nasogastric-tube trauma, and hyperglycemia (particularly in diabetic ketoacidosis).
The black esophagus. Am J Gastroenterol 1995;90:2210-12.
Black esophagus: An unusual finding during routine endoscopy.
Zargar, "Acute esophageal necrosis: a case of black esophagus with DKA," Archives of Iranian Medicine, vol.
Choi, "Black esophagus with concomitant candidiasis developed after diabetic ketoacidosis," World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol.
Black esophagus is characterized by its hallmark discoloration, with a grossly necrotic, friable, and ulcerated esophagus in the mid and distal portions and an abrupt transition at the gastroesophageal junction to unremarkable stomach.