Clinical Presentation

Patients with oesophageal disease may be asymptomatic, but usually experience one or more of the following: chest pain, heartburn (a retrosternal burning sensation), reflux of food and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Dysphagia can be painful (odynophagia) or progressive due to benign or malignant strictures, i.e., initially for solid foods, e.g., meat, then soft foods and ultimately liquids. Patient localisation of the site of obstruction can be poor. Occult bleeding can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia while haemorrhage (haematemesis) can be potentially life threatening (varices) or self-limiting due to linear tears of the OG junction mucous membrane after prolonged vomiting (Mallory-Weiss syndrome).

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