Applied Anatomy

  1. Cancer of the esophagus is a common affliction which presents with progressive difficulty in swallowing

  2. Because the esophagus is a site of portosystemic anastomis, raised portal pressure e.g due to liver cirrhosis causes opening up of the anastomosis. The veins in the esophageal submucosa dilate and become tortuos i.e varicose. They are called esophageal varices. In extreme cases, these may rupture causing hematemesis (vomiting blood)

  3. Because the left atrium is related to the esophagus, hypertrophy of the atrium as in mitral valve stenosis may cause compression

  4. The normal anatomical constrictions of the esophagus:

    (+) May be confused for pathological narrowing.

    (+) Sites of relative stasis and may be starting point for cancer.

    (+) May be perforated during esophageal instrumentation.


Posterior Mediastinum and posterior chest wall