The Esophageal Interest Group includes Mayo gastroenterology physicians who have a special interest in diseases of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube down which food (and liquid) pass into the stomach. On swallowing, a wave of muscular contractions sweeps down the throat (pharynx) and esophagus to propel food downwards. Closed sphincters (gates) at the upper and lower end of the esophagus open briefly on swallowing to allow the food through.
Frequent symptoms of esophageal disease include difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation of food or acid, and heartburn. The latter is a burning discomfort behind the breastbone, often felt at night or after meals, and helped by antacid medications.