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Esophageal Diverticula


General Information


  • usually small outpouchings in esophagus most commonly seen at pharyngoesophageal junction (Zenker's diverticula) or at distal esophagus (epiphrenic diverticula)3,4

Also called

  • Zenker's diverticula


  • etiology, symptoms and therapeutic requirements suggest classification of 3 types1,3
    • pharyngoesophageal (Zenker's) diverticula - protrusions of pharyngeal mucosa through weak zone in posterior pharyngeal wall, limited inferiorly by upper border of cricopharyngeal muscle and laterally by oblique fibers of thyropharyngeal muscle (called "Killian's triangle")
    • parabronchial
    • epiphrenic diverticula
  • another classification system divides diverticula into 2 categories4
    • pseudodiverticula
      • also called pulsion diverticula
      • result from transmural pressure gradients that develop from within esophagus, resulting in herniation of mucosa through a weak point of muscle layer
      • 2 recognized types include
        • pharyngoesophageal (Zenker’s) diverticulum
        • epiphrenic diverticulum (lower esophagus)
    • true diverticula
      • also called traction diverticula
      • result from inflammation in neighboring lymph nodes
      • are composed of all layers of esophageal wall


General references used

  1. Greenwald E, Rawlinson JD, Marshall JK. A distinctive case of dysphagia. CMAJ. 2004 Jan 6;170(1):42.OpenInNewfull-textOpenInNew
  2. Sen P, Kumar G, Bhattacharyya AK. Pharyngeal pouch: associations and complications. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2006 May;263(5):463-8.OpenInNew
  3. Costantini M, Zaninotto G, Rizzetto C, Narne S, Ancona E. Oesophageal diverticula. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2004 Feb;18(1):3-17.OpenInNew
  4. Cassivi SD, Deschamps C, Nichols FC 3rd, Allen MS, Pairolero PC. Diverticula of the esophagus. Surg Clin North Am. 2005 Jun;85(3):495-503, ix.OpenInNew

DynaMed Editorial Process

How to cite

National Library of Medicine, or "Vancouver style" (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors):

  • DynaMed [Internet]. Ipswich (MA): EBSCO Information Services. 1995 - . Record No. T114922, Esophageal Diverticula; [updated 2018 Nov 30, cited place cited date here]. Available from Registration and login required.
  • Related Summaries

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    General Information

    • Description

    • Also called

    • Types

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    • Who is most affected

    • Incidence/Prevalence

    • Associated conditions

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    Etiology and Pathogenesis

    • Causes

    • Pathogenesis

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    History and Physical

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      • Chief concern (CC)

      • History of present illness (HPI)

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      • General physical

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    • Making the diagnosis

    • Differential diagnosis

    • Testing overview

    • Imaging studies

    • Other diagnostic testing

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    • Management overview

    • Surgery and procedures

    • Other management

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    Complications and Prognosis

    • Complications

    • Prognosis

  • Prevention and Screening

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    Guidelines and Resources

    • Guidelines

    • Review articles

    • MEDLINE search

  • Patient Information

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    ICD Codes

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    • General references used

    • DynaMed Editorial Process

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