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December 8, 1962

What Is the Cardia?

JAMA. 1962;182(10):1045-1047. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050490069017c

GROWING INTEREST in the function of the gastroesophageal junction area has focused attention on the cardia. It is paradoxical that a word as widely used as cardia continues to exist without a more precise definition. An attempt to pinpoint the exact meaning of cardia by consulting all available dictionaries and anatomy textbooks ends up as a frustrating adventure in ambiguity. The Merriam Webster New International Unabridged Dictionary can do no better than the others in stating that the word stems, "from Greek kardia, heart or upper orifice of the stomach." This source continues, "Anat. a. the opening of the esophagus into the stomach, b. the cardiac end of the stomach." The matter may be summarized briefly—cardia is in use to refer to the proximal stomach, the distal esophagus, and the rim or hole between the two.

In attempting to trace the origin of cardia (Latin, cor), one is led back