Esophageal bolus obstruction

Case contributed by Dr Chris O'Donnell


Eating roast dinner (lamb) overnight. Meat now feels "stuck" in upper oesophagus. Unable to swallow Coke or water. Continuously vomiting. No previous symptoms.

Patient Data

Age: 65
Gender: Male

Localized food bolus with associated fluid level in the mid esophagus at the level of the aortic arch.  No other cause is evident. Esophagus is collapsed and empty more distally.

Case Discussion

Food bolus obstruction is usually due to underlying esophageal pathology such as reflux stricture, carcinoma or mechanical stent for malignancy. Without underlying pathology the patient might be edentulous (i.e. unable to chew food adequately) or have impaired conscious state. In the past a barium study was the examination of choice but CT can now provide reasonable assessment prior to endoscopic removal. CT can also exclused perforation, i.e. the absence of extraluminal gas.

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Case information

rID: 32633
Published: 7th Dec 2014
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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