Schatzki Ring (cont.)
In this Article
- What is a Schatzki ring?
- What are symptoms of a Schatzki Ring?
- How is a Schatzki Ring diagnosed?
- What treatment is for Schatzki Ring?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
What are symptoms of a Schatzki Ring?
The majority of these rings cause no symptoms, and patients are unaware of their presence. When the opening of the esophagus becomes smaller as the diameter of these rings shrink, solid, poorly chewed food (such as steak, turkey, frankfurter) that stays in chunks can get caught at the level of the ring. This occurs when the diameter of the ring reaches approximately 1 cm. The patient then experiences chest pain, or sticking sensation in the chest with swallowing (referred to as dysphagia). If the chunk of food passes into the stomach, these symptoms subside quickly and the patient can resume eating. If the food does not pass into the stomach, some patients have to induce regurgitation of the food by sticking their finger in the back of their throat before they can resume eating.
Rarely, the food becomes impacted (the food cannot pass nor can it be regurgitated). These patients experience continued chest pain and difficulty swallowing saliva and secretions. A flexible endoscope has to be inserted through the mouth into the esophagus to extract the impacted food to relieve the obstruction.
How is a Schatzki Ring diagnosed?
The diagnosis of Schatzki ring can usually be made by barium x- ray examination of the esophagus; however, a narrow ring can be missed on x-ray. In patients with symptoms of dysphagia, doctors usually also order an upper endoscope examination. Endoscopy is the best way of diagnosing a Schatzki ring. During the endoscopy, a flexible viewing tube is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus. It allows a direct view of the inner lining of the esophagus and the stomach. The test helps to exclude early cancer, esophagitis, and Barrett's esophagus.
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