Schatzki ring

A Schatzki ring, also called Schatzki-Gary ring, is symptomatically narrow oesophageal B-ring occurring in the distal oesophagus and usually associated with a hiatus hernia

Relatively common, lower oesophageal rings are found in ~10% of barium swallows

Most commonly it presents as intermittent dysphagia, especially to solid food. A history of food impaction is also very common. Dysphagia is more common in patients with an associated motility disorder. 

The pathogenesis of the Schatzki ring is unclear with conflicting hypotheses that include redundant pleats of mucosa, congenital abnormalities and modified peptic strictures. Interestingly, there is a reduced incidence of Barrett oesophagus in patients with a Schatzki ring.

Depending on its luminal diameter, an oesophageal B-ring may be symptomatic or asymptomatic 4:

  • <13 mm: almost always symptomatic
  • 13-20 mm: sometimes symptomatic
  • >20 mm: rarely symptomatic

When it is symptomatic, it is termed a "Schatzki ring".

Location

Schatzki rings are located at the gastro-oesophageal junction, illustrated by the fact that there is squamous epithelium above and columnar epithelial below the ring. They should not be confused with

  • A-rings, which are found a few centimetres proximal to the B-ring
  • oesophageal webs, which are lined on both sides by oesophageal mucosa 6-8
Associations

More than half of patients will have an associated oesophageal condition such as 2:

Fluoroscopy: barium swallow

Single-contrast solid barium swallows (especially in the RAO prone position) are more sensitive than endoscopy in detecting Schatzki rings 3. On barium swallow the following features may be seen 1:

  • full-column barium swallow will reveal a circumferential narrowing at the gastro-oesophageal junction, often a few centimeters above the diaphragmatic hiatus
  • thin smooth ring, 2-4 mm
  • double contrast studies are less sensitive
  • performing a Valsalva manoeuvre may improve sensitivity
  • barium-tablet or barium-coated marshmallow may also improve sensitivity

It is named after Richard Schatzki (1901-92), American physician (born in Germany) 1.

On fluoroscopy consider

Oesophageal pathology
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Article Information

rID: 5678
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Schatzki-Gary ring
  • Schatzki's ring
  • Schatzki rings

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