Dysphagia history and symptoms

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Dysphagia Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Dysphagia from other Conditions

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Diagnostic Study of Choice

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings


X Ray

Barium Swallow




Echocardiography and Ultrasound

Other Imaging Findings

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Medical Therapy


Primary Prevention

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Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

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Case #1

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Feham Tariq, MD [2]


The most important factor in the evaluation of all types of dysphagia is a detailed history, and a thorough review of symptoms that can differentiate esophageal from oropharyngeal dysphagia and help predict the specific etiology. How a patient describes the symptoms and their timing, associated historical features, and other characterizations may specifically denote the anatomic level of swallowing dysfunction.


Obtaining the history is the most important aspect of making a diagnosis of dysphagia. It provides insight into the cause, precipitating factors and associated comorbid conditions. Specific points to focus in history of patient presenting with dysphagia include

Symptoms of Dysphagia

Common symptoms

Common symptoms of dysphagia include:[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Oropharyngeal dysphagia Esophageal dysphagia

Less common symptoms

Less common symptoms of dysphagia include:


  1. Jamieson J, Hinder RA, DeMeester TR, Litchfield D, Barlow A, Bailey RT (1989). "Analysis of thirty-two patients with Schatzki's ring". Am J Surg. 158 (6): 563–6. PMID 2589590.
  2. Hendrix TR (1980). "Schatzki ring, epithelial junction, and hiatal hernia--an unresolved controversy". Gastroenterology. 79 (3): 584–5. PMID 7429120.
  3. Bakari G, Benelbarhdadi I, Bahije L, El Feydi Essaid A (2014). "Endoscopic treatment of 135 cases of Plummer-Vinson web: a pilot experience". Gastrointest Endosc. 80 (4): 738–41. doi:10.1016/j.gie.2014.05.332. PMID 25085338.
  4. Bakshi SS (2016). "Plummer-Vinson Syndrome". Mayo Clin Proc. 91 (3): 404. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.11.002. PMID 26944249.
  5. Lind CD (2003). "Dysphagia: evaluation and treatment". Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 32 (2): 553–75. PMID 12858606.
  6. Navaneethan, Udayakumar; Eubanks, Steve (2015). "Approach to Patients with Esophageal Dysphagia". Surgical Clinics of North America. 95 (3): 483–489. doi:10.1016/j.suc.2015.02.004. ISSN 0039-6109.

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