Symptomatic Lower Esophageal Ring: Treatment of 24 Patients*

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The lower esophageal ring, or Schatzki's ring, consists of a thin, submucosal, circumferential scar which forms a thin incomplete diaphragm in the lower esophageal lumen. The symptoms may be either episodic aphagia or progressive dysphagia, and the severity of symptoms is related to the diameter of the ring. Between 1970 and 1978, we saw 24 patients with lower esophageal rings and complaints of episodic aphagia or progressive dysphagia. Symptoms of esophagitis were present in 20 of the 24. Twenty were treated surgically by interrupting the rings and repairing the sliding hiatal hernias. Two were treated by dilatation and two received no treatment to the ring. Hiatal hernias have recurred in two patients. In one, there is a recurrent ring and in the other, an acid peptic stricture. The ring has responded to dilatation and the peptic stricture to dilatation and repair of the recurrent hernia. Two patients without symptoms of esophagitis, treated by dilatation, are doing well but the follow-up period is so far too short to draw any conclusion.

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