oa South African Medical Journal - Curling of the oesophagus

Volume 28, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The appearances rippling oesophagus, cork crew oesophagus, multiple functional diverticula and segmental spasms (synonyms-ladder spasms and rosary oesophagus) are closely related and appear to be expressions of a single dysfunction, called curling. The non-committal term curling is preferable at this stage to tertiary contractions in view of the uncertain pathogenesis. The condition may give rise to symptoms, notably dysphagia, in a minority of cases. It can be easily overlooked if the effect of swallowing on the filled oesophagus is not observed fluoroscopically. Radiology is the only means of diagnosis. The etiology appears to be in the nature of a neuromuscular dysfunction. Three possible ways in which this could arise, are discussed.

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