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May 1976

Introduction: Motor Function and Dysfunction of the Esophagus and Pharynx

Author Affiliations

From the Gastroenterology Section, Department of Internal Medicine, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas, Southwestern Medical School, Dallas.

Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(5):511-514. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630050005003

The purpose of the symposium is to present an up-to-date view of normal physiology and pathophysiology and of the diagnosis and treatment of clinical disorders of esophageal and pharyngeal motility. The esophagus is essentially a hollow tube, which is about 25 cm long in an adult person. Its main function is to convey ingested material to the stomach. It secretes mucus, presumably to lubricate the bolus, but absorbs nothing. Under resting conditions, the esophagus remains as a collapsed tube with a sphincter at either end—a lower and an upper (cricopharyngeal) esophageal sphincter. The pharynx is about a 12-cm long channel that has a more complicated structure, and it participates in respiration and phonation in addition to transport of the bolus from the mouth to the esophagus. Motor disorders of the esophagus cause dysphagia and may also be the source of chest pain. The esophageal sphincters act as antireflux mechanisms to

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