Intermittent dysphagia for solids associated with a multiringed esophagus: clinical features and response to dilatation

Dysphagia. 2007 Jan;22(1):55-62. doi: 10.1007/s00455-006-9043-6. Epub 2007 Jan 11.


The entity of the multiringed esophagus, generally presenting in adults as intermittent dysphagia for solids, is relatively uncommon and its pathogenesis is unknown. The goal of this study was to describe the demographic, clinical, and endoscopic features of patients presenting with this condition, their response to esophageal dilatation, and the relationship of multiple esophageal rings to eosinophilic esophagitis. Between 1989 and June 2004, 32 patients at this adult hospital fulfilled the following inclusion criteria: (1) intermittent dysphagia for solids, (2) multiple esophageal rings at endoscopy, and (3) esophageal dilatation(s) performed. Response to esophageal dilatation was measured by need for subsequent dilatations. Seventy-five percent of the patients were male. Median age at onset of dysphagia was 21 years and at presentation 36.5 years. All had multiple rings in the proximal or midesophagus on endoscopy and had undergone a total of 73 esophageal dilatations with no esophageal perforations. Median maximal dilator size was 15 mm; however, 16% developed significant esophageal mucosal tears even with 11-mm dilators. Sixty-six percent required repeat dilatation, with the median time interval before recurrence being 8 months. Eosinophilic esophagitis (mucosal eosinophil count > 20/HPF) was present in 50% of this cohort. From this study we conclude that a multiringed esophagus causing intermittent dysphagia occurs predominantly in young males, responds well to dilatation, but repeated dilatations are often necessary. Dilatation can lead to extensive mucosal tears and should be performed with caution. Eosinophilic esophagitis is commonly but not invariably associated with this entity. Frequent relapse of dysphagia highlights the need for effective pharmacotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Catheterization*
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Deglutition Disorders / pathology
  • Deglutition*
  • Eosinophils
  • Esophageal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Diseases / pathology
  • Esophageal Stenosis / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Stenosis / pathology
  • Esophagus / pathology*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors