Purpose of review
To cover the diagnosis and management of diffuse esophageal spasm, nutcracker esophagus/spastic nutcracker and hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter. An outline of the presentation and manometric features of these conditions will precede a discussion of therapies. All of these diagnoses are made manometrically, even though they may be suspected by presentation and by findings at video fluoroscopic swallow or gastroscopy testing.
The advent of high-resolution manometry testing has allowed a better understanding of these motility disorders, and the ability to standardize the diagnoses by the use of the Chicago Classification is a major step forward. Recent developments show that botulinum toxin and perioral myotomy can be an effective treatment for some patients. This should bring more therapies to the fore in the future, but at present there is still the need for more prospective study of best therapies.
The important point to remember for all of these conditions is that unlike achalasia, there is no definite pathological correlation to the manometrically observed abnormalities. This therefore makes the management challenging and means that treatment pathways are not as well set out as for some other upper gastrointestinal motility problems.