Esophageal spasm: Demographic, clinical, radiographic, and manometric features in 108 patients

C. Almansa, M. G. Heckman, K. R. Devault, E. Bouras, S. R. Achem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Diffuse esophageal spasm (DES) remains insufficiently understood. Here we aimed to summarize the demographic, clinical, radiographic, and manometric features in a large cohort of patients with DES. We identified all consecutive patients diagnosed with DES from 2000 to 2006 at Mayo Clinic Florida. The computerized records of these patients were reviewed to extract relevant information. We performed 2654 esophageal motilities during that period. There were 108 patients with esophageal spasm, and 55% were female. Median age was 71 years. The most common leading symptom was dysphagia in 55, followed by chest pain in 31. Weight loss occurred in 28 patients. The median of time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 48 months (range 0-480), with a median of time from the first medical consultation to diagnosis of 8 months (range 0-300). The most frequent comorbidities were hypertension and psychiatric problems. At presentation, 81 patients were taking acid-reducing medications, and 49 patients were taking psychotropic drugs. An abnormal esophagogram was noted in 46 of 76 patients with this test available, but most radiographic findings were nonspecific with the typical 'corkscrew' appearance seen in only three patients. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) was diagnosed by pH testing or endoscopy in 41 patients. We did not find any difference between the rate of simultaneous contractions or esophageal amplitude between patients with a leading symptom of dysphagia and those with chest pain. DES is an uncommon motility disorder that often goes unrecognized for years. Physicians should be aware of the clinical heterogeneity of DES and consider motility testing early in the course of unexplained esophageal symptoms. Given the high prevalence of GERD in DES, the role of GERD and the impact of acid-reducing therapy in DES deserve further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012


  • Dysphagia
  • Esophageal motility disorders
  • Esophageal spasm
  • Noncardiac chest pain
  • Reflux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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