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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.


1. The fauces and pharynx. Synonym(s): gullet
2. The anterior aspect of the neck. Synonym(s): jugulum
3. Any narrowed entrance into a hollow part.
[A.S. throtu]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


1. The esophagus.
2. The throat.
3. Zoology An invagination into the cytoplasm of certain ciliates, used for food intake.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


1. The fauces and pharynx.
Synonym(s): gullet.
2. The anterior aspect of the neck.
3. Any narrowed entrance into a hollow part.
[A.S. throtu]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


The common term for the OESOPHAGUS.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005

Patient discussion about gullet

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 gullet
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