Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Effects of mediastinal irradiation on oesophageal function.
  1. E Yeoh,
  2. R H Holloway,
  3. A Russo,
  4. M Tippett,
  5. H Bermingham,
  6. B Chatterton,
  7. M Horowitz
  1. Department of Radiation Oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, South Australia.


    Although it is well recognised that oesophageal symptoms are common during therapeutic mediastinal irradiation of intrathoracic malignant diseases, the effects of mediastinal irradiation on oesophageal function are poorly defined. To clarify the pathogenesis of these sequelae a prospective study was performed to document comprehensively the effects of mediastinal irradiation on oesophageal function. Oesophageal symptoms, barium swallow, endoscopy, and combined radionuclide scintigraphy and oesophageal manometry were evaluated in eight patients with potentially curable intrathoracic malignant disease before treatment, during the last week of mediastinal irradiation, and six to eight weeks after its completion. Before irradiation, structural abnormalities were excluded by barium swallow and endoscopy. All but one patient experienced odynophagia or dysphagia, or both, during mediastinal irradiation (p < 0.001) but endoscopic abnormalities were observed in only three patients and there was no correlation between oesophageal symptoms and endoscopic changes. Irradiation, however, had no significant effect on oesophageal motility or transit. It is concluded that oesophageal symptoms which develop during mediastinal irradiation are not a result of altered oesophageal motility or transit and may reflect increased mucosal sensitivity.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.