Achalasia A condition characterised by lack of normal relaxation of the valve at the lower end of the gullet, which should occur during swallowing.
Angina Chest pain caused by lack of blood to the heart. This characterisically occurs during exertion.
Barium swallow An X-ray examination using barium to assess the swallowing function.
Cardiac Relating to the heart.
Diffuse oesophageal spasm Abnormal contraction of the muscular wall of the oesophagus causing pain and dysphagia, often in response to regurgitation of acid gastric contents.
Diltiazem A drug used for treating angina, high blood pressure and oesophageal dysmotility syndromes that works by interfering with calcium flow in and out of cells.
Dysphagia Difficulty swallowing.
Endoscopic ultrasound scan Use of a specially designed endoscope which allows ultrasound images to be generated from within the gastrointestinal tract. This test gives very high resolution pictures of the anatomy of the gut.
Endsoscopy Visual examination of interior sections of the body by introduction of an instrument (an endoscope) through the mouth; examples include oesophagoscopy, gastroscopy, bronchoscopy. When used unqualified, it is often taken to mean gastroscopy.
Gastric Relating to the stomach.
Gastro-oesophageal junction The junction between the oesophagus and stomach.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease A syndrome due to structural or functional incompetence of the lower oesophageal sphincter, which permits retrograde flow of acidic gastric juice into the oesophagus.
Gastroscopy Visual examination of oesophagus, stomach and duodenum by introduction of an instrument (an endoscope) through the mouth.
Glyceryl trinitrate A drug used for angina and sometimes for oesophageal dysmotility syndromes.
Ischaemic Deficient blood supply to any part of the body.
Ischaemic heart disease Deficient blood supply to the muscles of the heart which can be associated with pain and death of heart muscle (commonly called a heart attack).
Isosorbide mononitrate A longer acting drug in the same class as glyceryl trinitrate.
Lower oesophageal sphincter Musculature of the gastro-oesophageal junction that is continuously (tonically) active except during swallowing.
Manometry Measurement of the pressure of gases or fluids by means of a manometer.
Myeneteric plexus A plexus of nerve fibres and autonomic cell bodies lying in the muscular coat of the oesophagus, stomach, and intestines.
Myotomy Surgical division of a muscle.
Nitrates Group of drugs including isosorbide and glyceryl trinitrate.
Odynophagia Pain on swallowing.
Oesophageal dysmotility Abnormal function of the oesophagus in which the normal muscle contractions are altered.
Oesophagus/ oesophageal Relating to the gullet - swallowing tube that passes between the throat and stomach.
Omeprazole A drug that suppresses acid secretion in the stomach, of the proton pump inhibitor class.
Parasympathetic Pertaining to a division of the autonomic (independent - self governing) nervous system. These nerves cannot be controlled at will.
Peristalsis The movement of the intestine or other tubular structure, characterised by waves of alternate circular contraction and relaxation of the tube by which the contents are propelled onward.
Proton pump inhibitor Potent drugs for suppressing acid secretion in the stomach. They interact with the proton pump mechanism that creates acid in the wall of the stomach.
Pseudoachalasia A condition which has the manometric features of achalasia but is due to another cause such as a tumour.
Psychometry The science of mental testing.
Radiological The study of diagnosis of disease using X-rays and other allied imaging techniques.
Retrosternal pain Pain behind the sternum (breast bone).
Retrosternally Behind the sternum (breast bone).
Sub-sternal pain Pain beneath the sternum (breast bone).
Sympathetic nervous system Pertaining to a division of the autonomic (independent - self governing) nervous system. These nerves cannot be controlled at will.
Thoracic spine The middle part of the spine, behind the chest.
Ultrasound scan Production of a visible image from the use of high frequency sound waves. Echoes of reflected sound are used to build up an electronic image of the various structures of the body.
Vagus nerve The 10th cranial nerve, which exits from the base of the skull and supplies nerve fibres widely througout the thorax (chest) and abdomen.
Vigorous achalasia A variant of achalasia in which vigorous contractions of the oesophageal body are present.
Visceral sensitivity Sensitivity to stimuli inside the organs of the body.