Esophageal Metaplasia and Neoplasia

Esophageal cancer accounts for a jaw-dropping amount of cancer-related deaths, and is now classified as the 6th-highest cause of death in this group.  In this installment of the study guide series, I will discuss Barrett Esophagus (I learned this entity as Barrett Metaplasia) and esophageal cancer (neoplasia).   Barrett Metaplasia Metaplasia:  columnar epithelium replaces the physiologic squamous epithelium…

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is incredibly common, with an estimated prevalence of 10-20% in the Western hemisphere.  It’s important to note that GERD has many overlap symptoms with cardiac chest pain, thus cardiovascular causes should be ruled out first before the diagnosis of GERD.   GERD Clinically Insomnia/poor sleep quality, diminished work output Typical heartburn, liquid regurgitation with resultant metallic or…

Esophageal Motility and Esophagitis

Motility Disorders and Esophagitis are must-know esophageal pathologies are NOT inherently malignant (cancerous), but may be associated with increased risk for malignancy.     Motility Disorders Achalasia – failure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax. Pathophysiology:  ganglion cell and myenteric plexus breakdown, cholinergic nerve predominance leading to persistent contraction of muscle. Cancer risk:  squamous…

Introduction to Esophageal Problems

The very first entry in my GI & Hepatology study outline series will set the stage/define major descriptors of proximal GI (esophageal) symptoms and help with categorizing pathology. Dysphagia = the sensation that food and/or liquid is not appropriately going through the mouth/throat/esophagus.  Typical symptoms:  “food is getting stuck / impeded.” Oropharyngeal phase – food bolus…