Korean J Gastroenterol.  2021 Feb;77(2):71-76. 10.4166/kjg.2021.024.

Pharmacological Treatments of Esophageal Dysphagia

  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea


Patients with esophageal dysphagia need a step-by-step approach for diagnosis and treatment. Endoscopic with biopsy and barium esophagogram are the essential tests evaluating anatomical abnormality and esophageal bolus stasis. Further imaging or esophageal function tests such as high-resolution esophageal manometry, functional endoluminal imaging probe, CT or endoscopic ultrasound are required. In the case of dysphagia due to esophageal motility disorder, whether it is the major motility disorder or minor motility disorder should be identified in high resolution manometry. Major motility disorders show esophagogastric junction obstruction or major peristaltic defects. In this case, the severity of the symptoms should be assessed and patients who need endoscopic or surgical treatment targeting lower esophageal sphincter should be screened. Impaired lower esophageal sphincter relaxation (achalasia, esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction, esophageal spasm or abnormal hypercontraction (jackhammer esophagus), hypotensive contraction (ineffective esophageal motility, failed peristalsis), esophageal hypersensitivity (noncardiac chest pain), gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal bolus stasis are the possible mechanisms causing dysphagia symptoms. The proper medical treatment depends on underlying mechanisms.


Deglutition disorders; Esophagus; Therapeutics
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