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December 9, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(24):2128-2131. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800490024006

The frequency with which benign (cicatricial) strictures of the esophagus require dilation has produced the impression among physicians that lesions of this type occur more often than other diseases which cause dysphagia. Contrary to this belief, benign stricture occurs less often than carcinoma and cardiospasm, and with approximately the same frequency as pharyngoesophageal diverticulum. Although benign stricture from swallowing lye is probably encountered less frequently now than prior to legislation requiring that lye be labeled poison, the total number of proved cases of cicatricial stricture has remained practically constant for the past twenty years. Constancy in the incidence of benign stricture has resulted, no doubt, from more accurate recognition of inflammatory lesions in the esophagus in which the cause of inflammation is not known.

Any inflammatory process involving the wall of the esophagus may produce sufficient contraction when healing occurs to reduce the lumen of the esophagus and interfere with

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