Esophageal Diverticula

Overview

The esophagus connects the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal diverticula are weak parts of the esophagus that pouch outward. The types of diverticula include:

  • Zenker's diverticula, which occur at the top of the esophagus
  • Mid-esophageal, which occur in the middle
  • Ephiphrenic diverticula, which appear at the bottom

Symptoms

This condition often causes no symptoms unless food fills up the pouch. They may include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Having undigested food flow back up the esophagus from the stomach
  • Hoarseness
  • Repeated pneumonia
  • Repeated cases of getting food in the breathing passages or lungs.

Diagnosis

The most effective method for diagnosing esophageal diverticula is a barium swallow. As the barium solution moves down the esophagus, it fills the pouches so they can be seen on an X-ray.

Treatment

This condition is usually not treated unless it is severe. In those cases, the pouches are removed with surgery.

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