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Functional oesophagoscopy: endoscopic evaluation of the oesophageal phase of deglutition

  • P C Belafsky (a1) and C J Rees (a1)



The anatomy and function of the oropharynx and larynx during deglutition can be assessed using the flexible endoscope, but this evaluation does not provide information on the oesophagus. Guided observation of oesophageal swallowing enables extended dysphagia evaluation.


To assess the diagnostic utility of guided observation of oesophageal swallowing in the evaluation of dysphagia.

Study design:

Retrospective case series.


Procedures for guided observation of oesophageal swallowing were reviewed for oesophageal findings and compared with fluoroscopy and manometry.


Twenty-one patients underwent guided observation of oesophageal swallowing and concurrent videofluoroscopy and/or manometry. No complications of the former procedure occurred. The results of guided observation of oesophageal swallowing concurred with those of fluoroscopy in 15/21 cases (71 per cent) and with those of manometry in five of six (83 per cent) cases. Guided observation of oesophageal swallowing revealed anatomic pathology contributing to dysphagia in 15/21 (71 per cent) patients. The procedure identified pathology not detected by fluoroscopy and manometry in 13/21 (62 per cent) patients.


Guided observation of oesophageal swallowing appears to be a safe diagnostic tool with which to evaluate the oesophageal phase of deglutition.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Peter C Belafsky, Center for Voice and Swallowing, University of California Davis School of Medicine, 2521 Stockton Blvd, Suite 7200, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA. Fax: +1 916 703 5011 E-mail:


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Presented at the 9th World Congress of the World Organization for Specialized Studies on Diseases of the Esophagus, April 6–9, 2008, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.



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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
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