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Dysphagia Lusoria: A Rare Cause of Difficulty Swallowing

Posted on 29/08/2023 by Steve May
Estimated reading time: 1 min read
Categories: Healthcare

Dysphagia lusoria is a rare form of dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, caused by an aberrant right subclavian artery[^1^]. The right subclavian artery is the blood vessel that supplies blood to the right arm. In people with dysphagia lusoria, this artery takes an unusual path, which can lead to compression of the esophagus and cause swallowing difficulties[^2^].

Understanding Dysphagia Lusoria

This condition is congenital, meaning it is present from birth. However, many individuals with dysphagia lusoria may not experience any symptoms until adulthood[^3^]. The primary symptom is dysphagia, especially to solid foods. Less commonly, patients may experience chest pain, weight loss, or regurgitation[^4^].

It’s estimated that dysphagia lusoria affects about 1% of the population[^5^]. But due to the often asymptomatic nature of the condition, many cases likely go undiagnosed. Therefore, the actual prevalence could be higher.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing dysphagia lusoria can be challenging due to its rarity and the commonality of swallowing difficulties in the general population. Clinicians typically use a combination of imaging studies such as barium swallow, computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify the aberrant artery and its relationship to the esophagus[^6^].

The treatment approach depends on the severity of the symptoms and the overall health of the individual. If symptoms are mild, conservative management, such as changes in diet, may be sufficient. However, for those with severe or persistent symptoms, surgery may be necessary to relocate the aberrant artery and relieve the compression on the esophagus[^7^].

Despite its rarity, dysphagia lusoria serves as a reminder of the many potential causes of dysphagia. Understanding the unique characteristics of each type can lead to more effective treatment strategies and improved quality of life for those affected.

Remember, if you’re experiencing any difficulty swallowing, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

[^1^]: British Journal of Radiology, Dysphagia Lusoria: clinical aspects, manometric findings, diagnosis, and therapy
[^2^]: NCBI, Dysphagia Lusoria
[^3^]: The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Management of aberrant subclavian arteries and Kommerell diverticulum
[^4^]: Cureus, Anomalous Right Subclavian Artery (Arteria Lusoria) with a Common Origin of Carotid Arteries
[^5^]: NCBI, Dysphagia Lusoria
[^6^]: Radiology Case Reports, Dysphagia Lusoria: A case of an aberrant right subclavian artery and a bicarotid trunk
[^7^]: The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Surgical management of dysphagia lusoria: experience in seven patients

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