Feline oesophagus

Feline oesophagus also known as oesophageal shiver, refers to the transient transverse bands seen in the mid and lower oesophagus on a double contrast barium swallow.

The appearance is almost always associated with active gastro-oesophageal reflux 2,3 and is thought to be due to contraction of the muscularis mucosae with resultant shortening of the oesophagus and 'bunching up' of the mucosa in the lumen 2.

The folds are 1-2 mm thick and run horizontally around the entire circumference of the oseophageal lumen. The findings are transient, seen following reflux and not during swallowing. The appearance is confined to the distal two-thirds of the thoracic oesophagus.

Transverse oesophageal folds were originally described in 1970 by Bremner et al 5 as a normal anatomic feature of the cat oesophagus. The term feline oesophagus has hence been applied to the similar transient appearance in the human oesophagus.   

  • scarring from reflux 1-2
    • permanent
    • thicker
    • cross less than half of the lumen
  • oesophageal spasm 1
    • much thicker bands
  • eosinophilic oesophagitis 4
    • 'ringed oesophagus' seen in ~50%
    • similar sized bands
    • permanent
    • stricturing
Inspired signs
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Article information

rID: 1333
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Esophageal shiver

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1
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    Feline oesophagus
    Figure 2: endoscopic view
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    Barium swallow

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    Case 1: barium swallow
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    Case 2: feline oesophagus
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