Esophageal stricture and be acute or chronic. Acute esophageal stricture is a narrowing or closure of the normal opening of the swallowing tube leading to the stomach, is usually caused by scarring from acid irritation. Acute, complete obstruction of the esophagus occurs when food (usually meat) is lodged in the esophageal stricture. Patients experience chest pain, and are unable to swallow saliva. Attempts to relieve the obstruction by inducing vomiting at home are usually unsuccessful. Patients with complete esophageal obstruction can breathe, and are not at any risk of suffocation. Endoscopy is usually employed to retrieve the meat and relieve the obstruction.
Chronic esophageal stricture is a longstanding narrowing or closure of the normal opening of the swallowing tube leading to the stomach usually caused by scarring by acid irritation resulting in narrowing of the esophagus. This condition is a common complication of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Several procedures are available for stretching (dilating) the strictures without having to resort to surgery. One of the procedures involves placing a deflated balloon across the stricture at the time of endoscopy. The balloon is then inflated, thereby opening the narrowing caused by the stricture. Another method involves inserting tapered dilators of different sizes through the mouth into the esophagus to dilate the stricture.