Feline esophagus and gastroesophageal reflux

Faraz Samadi, Marc S. Levine, Stephen E. Rubesin, David A. Katzka, Igor Laufer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purposes of this study were to reassess the relation between a feline esophagus (transient transverse esophageal folds) and gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and to determine whether a feline esophagus is observed more often during swallowing or during reflux of barium. MATERIALS AND METHODS. A computerized search of double-contrast esophagrams was performed to generate four equal groups of 56 patients with marked, moderate, mild, and no GER. The imaging findings were reviewed to determine the frequency of a feline esophagus in these groups and whether this sign was detected during swallowing or reflux of barium. The presence of a feline esophagus also was correlated with the presence of a hiatal hernia, reflux esophagitis, a peptic stricture, and esophageal dysmotility. RESULTS. A feline esophagus was detected in 20 of 224 patients (9%). It was detected during reflux of barium in 17 patients (85%), swallowing of barium in two patients (10%), and both in one patient (5%). GER was present in all 20 patients with a feline esophagus and in 148 of the 204 patients (73%) without a feline esophagus (p = 0.0068). A significant relation also was found between a feline esophagus and the presence of a hiatal hernia (p = 0.0116) but not between a feline esophagus and the presence of reflux esophagitis, a peptic stricture, or esophageal dysmotility. CONCLUSION. All patients with a feline esophagus at barium esophagography had associated GER. These transverse folds were observed mainly during reflux of barium from the stomach rather than during swallowing of barium. When a feline esophagus is detected during barium studies, the patient is extremely likely to have GER whether or not GER is seen at fluoroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)972-976
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • Barium study
  • Esophagus
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Gastrointestinal radiolog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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