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Lower esophageal ring

A lower esophageal ring is an abnormal ring of tissue that forms where the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach) and stomach meet.

Causes

A lower esophageal ring is a birth defect of the esophagus that occurs in a small number of people. It causes narrowing of the lower esophagus.

Narrowing of the esophagus may also be caused by:

Symptoms

For most people, lower esophageal ring does not cause symptoms.

The most common symptom is the feeling that food (especially solid food) is stuck in the lower neck or under the breastbone (sternum).

Exams and Tests

Tests that show the lower esophageal ring include:

Treatment

A device called a dilator is passed through the narrowed area to stretch the ring. Sometimes, a balloon is placed in the area and inflated, to help widen the ring.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Swallowing problems may return. You may need repeat treatment.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have swallowing problems.

Alternative Names

Esophagogastric ring; Schatzki's ring; Dysphagia - esophageal ring; Swallowing problems - esophageal ring 

References

Devault KR. Symptoms of esophageal disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 13.

Madanick R, Orlando RC. Anatomy, histology, embryology, and developmental anomalies of the esophagus. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 42.

Review Date 8/2/2016

Updated by: Raymond S. Koff, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.