This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Jackhammer esophagus is a motility disorder of the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth with the stomach, classified under esophageal spasms. Esophageal spasms are divided in 2 main types, diffuse esophageal spasm and hypertensive peristalsis or nutcracker esophagus. Jackhammer esophagus is the most serious manifestation of the hypertensive type and it is also known as hypercontractile peristalsis. Contractions (spasms) are very intensive (very high amplitude), involve most of the esophagus, and last for a long time. There is a jackhammer-type appearance on the high-resolution manometry, an exam which measures the muscle contractions that occur in the esophagus when swallowing. Symptoms may include feeding difficulty (dysphagia) and chest pain that might be confused with a heart attack.The cause is unknown but it may occur with, or as a consequence of, other conditions, especially gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Treatment depends on the frequency and severity of the esophageal spasms. It may include medication, Botox injections, and surgical procedures. Very hot or cold liquids, loud noises, and stress may worsen dysphagia. Jackhammer esophagus can progress to achalasia, a rare and serious condition that makes it very difficult for food and liquid to pass into the stomach.
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