Corkscrew sign (diffuse esophageal spasm)

Last revised by Mohammadtaghi Niknejad on 20 Dec 2021

A corkscrew esophagus, also known as a rosary bead esophagus, is a classic appearance of distal esophageal spasm on a barium swallow. It is actually quite a rare appearance which is seen in <5% cases of distal esophageal spasm. The finding is caused by multiple tertiary (non-propulsive) contractions interrupting the normal peristalsis.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: corkscrew (photo)
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  • Figure 2: diffuse esophageal spasm (illustration)
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  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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