Cricopharyngeal muscle spasm

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Abhijit Datir et al.

Cricopharyngeal muscle spasm is also known as cricopharyngeal achalasia, although some authors distinguish between these entities, and may present as a cause of dysphagia.

There is confusing use of the terms cricopharyngeal muscle spasm, cricopharyngeal achalasia and cricopharyngeal bar

Cricopharyngeal bar refers to the radiographic appearance of a prominent cricopharyngeus muscle contour but is not synonymous with cricopharyngeal muscle spasm/achalasia, which is one of the underlying pathologies that can cause the appearance of one. 

In most patients the exact aetiology for this spasm is unknown. Some associated predisposing conditions include:

Presents as a cricopharyngeal bar, which is seen as a relatively constant impression on the posterior aspect of oesophagus at C5-6 level. Cricopharyngeal spasm can be diagnosed with manometry. 

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Article information

rID: 1181
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Cricopharyngeal spasm
  • Cricopharyngeal achalasia
  • Cricopharyngeus muscle spasm
  • Cricopharyngeus spasm

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