Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Dysphagia

A variety of diseases and conditions can cause dysphasia, including:

Diagnosing dysphagia

A number of tests can determine the cause and extent of your dysphagia. Your physician will select the best method for diagnosing your condition, choosing from:

  • Esophagram/barium swallow: A special series of X-rays is taken of your esophagus after you drink small amounts of a liquid containing barium, a contrast material that coats your esophagus and shows up well on X-rays.
  • Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES): An endoscope (a thin, lighted tube with a camera attached to it) is passed through your mouth and esophagus. This tiny camera lets the physician see the surface of your esophagus. The physician may, if necessary, perform a biopsy (obtain small tissue samples) by using forceps (tiny tweezers) that are passed through the endoscope. A pathologist will examine the sample to determine if the tissues are abnormal.
  • Capsule endoscopy: A tiny camera, embedded in a small capsule that you swallow, takes pictures of your esophagus.
  • Pharyngeal manometry: A pressure-sensitive tube is passed through your nose and into your stomach to measure pressure inside your esophagus.
  • CT scan: A computed tomography (CT) scan combines X-ray and computer technology to produce detailed cross-sectional images of your esophagus.