Cricopharyngeal bar

Case contributed by Henry Knipe


Dysphagia, vomiting.

Patient Data

Age: 50
Gender: Female

Barium swallow


Smooth, prominent impression of the cricopharyngeus muscle at the level of C5/6 results in a stenosis and jet of contrast. Anterior mucosal irregularity relates of a submucosal venous plexus often present at this level. 

Case Discussion

  • cricopharyngeal bars are relatively common on barium swallows
  • mostly asymptomatic with dysphagia resulting from a different pathology (as in this case from thoracic esophageal dysmotlity)
  • associated with gastro-esophageal reflux disease and Zenker's diverticulum

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