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The appearance is almost always associated with active gastro-esophageal reflux 2,3 and is thought to be due to contraction of the muscularis mucosae with resultant shortening of the esophagus 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 esophageal lumen. The findings are transient, seen following reflux and not during swallowing. The appearance is confined to the distal two-thirds of the thoracic esophagus.
History and etymology
Transverse esophageal folds were originally described in 1970 by Bremner et al. 5 as a normal anatomic feature of the cat esophagus. The term feline esophagus has hence been applied to the similar transient appearance in the human esophagus.
- 1. Gohel VK, Edell SL, Laufer I et-al. Transverse folds in the human esophagus. Radiology. 1978;128 (2): 303-8. doi:10.1148/128.2.303 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Furth EE, Rubesin SE, Rose D. Feline esophagus. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1995;164 (4): 900. AJR Am J Roentgenol (citation) - Pubmed citation
- 3. Samadi F, Levine MS, Rubesin SE et-al. Feline esophagus and gastroesophageal reflux. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2010;194 (4): 972-6. doi:10.2214/AJR.09.3352 - Pubmed citation
- 4. Zimmerman SL, Levine MS, Rubesin SE et-al. Idiopathic eosinophilic esophagitis in adults: the ringed esophagus. Radiology. 2005;236 (1): 159-65. doi:10.1148/radiol.2361041100 - Pubmed citation
- 5. Bremner CG, Shorter RG, Ellis FH. Anatomy of feline esophagus with special reference to its muscular wall and phrenoesophageal membrane. J. Surg. Res. 1970;10 (7): 327-31. J. Surg. Res. (link) - Pubmed citation