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Esophageal Motility

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Topic updated on 04/04/15 12:20am

Overview
  • Esophageal motility   
    • overlaps with esophageal phase of swallowing
    • swallowing is under involuntary ("reflex") control in the esophagus
    • propels food bolus from the esophagus to the stomach
      • food bolus is propelled from the pharynx, through the upper esophageal sphincter, and into the esophagus
      • once the food bolus enters the esophagus, the upper esophageal sphincter contracts and closes to prevent the food bolus from refluxing into the pharynx
      • a primary peristaltic wave of contraction mediated by the swallowing reflex involving a series of coordinated, sequential contractions propels the food bolus through the esophagus
        • if the primary peristaltic wave of contraction does not clear the esophagus of food, a secondary peristaltic wave mediated by the enteric nervous system is initiated
      • lower esophageal (cardiac) sphincter relaxes and opens
        • as the lower esophageal (cardiac) sphincter relaxes and opens, the orad region of the stomach relaxes in a process called "receptive relaxation"
          • receptive relaxation decreases pressure in the orad stomach and facilitates movement of the food bolus from the esophagus, through the lower esophageal (cardiac) sphincter, and into the stomach
      • once the food bolus enders the orad stomach, the lower esophageal (cardiac) sphincter contracts and closes to prevent the food bolus from refluxing into the esophagus


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