Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Monday, June 29, 2009

What does your esophagus look like?

First, here is a picture of a normal esophagus. This is looking down toward the LES (the sphincter muscle at the base of the stomach that controls the emptying of the esophagus into the stomach) It is like looking down a tube slide, basically.

And then there is Angela's esophagus! These were taken almost 4 years ago, and the GI doctor at Mayo assumes things have gotten much worse since then. This first picture is from the very top. That is NOT the base of her esophagus (that closed part) but only about 2 inches down.

You have to look at this one sideways, but this is what happens to her esophagus when she lays flat. It completely collapses. It was this picture that landed her sleeping in a hospital bed for the rest of her life. The GI so NO peristalsis AT ALL while he was in there. Peristalsis is the contractions the esophagus makes to move food down to the stomach. Think of the way a snake's body moves, and that is somewhat similar to the way peristalsis movements work.

Here is what happened when he tried to blow her esophagus open with a puff of air. He was able to get it to open to this tiny key-hole shape. Notice you can't even SEE the base of her esophagus, because this is way up at the top, and it's collapsed all the way to the base.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

So this is the thing that holds our food, then opens and closes? And Angela’s doesn’t open, but slowly food drips through? Sorry if I dont have that right.