Dysphagia Overview

Dysphagia is a feeling that food is not passing appropriately from the mouth through the esophagus into the stomach. Transfer dysphagia or oropharyngeal dysphagia occurs when food or liquids do not pass from the mouth into the beginning of the esophagus. This will often result in coughing or choking.

This condition is most likely to occur with nerve or muscle disorders such as a stroke or Parkinson’s Disease. Problems may arise from a narrowing of the esophagus, inflammation of the lining or abnormal motor function of the muscles in the wall of the esophagus.

Transfer dysphagia is best evaluated and treated with the assistance of a speech pathologist and x-­ray evaluation. Esophageal symptoms can be further evaluated with barium x-­ray or endoscopy. Dysphagia resulting from esophageal stricture will typically respond to stretching or dilation of the narrowed esophageal segment.