Esophageal Dysphagia in Children | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is esophageal dysphagia diagnosed in children?

The physician will examine your child and obtain a medical history. You will be asked questions about how your child eats and any problems you notice during feeding. Imaging tests may also be done to evaluate your child's mouth, throat and esophagus. These tests can include:

Barium swallow/upper GI series. Your child is given a liquid containing barium to drink and a series of x-rays are taken. The physician can watch what happens as your child swallows the fluid, and note any problems that may occur in the throat, esophagus or stomach.

Endoscopy. This test uses a small, flexible tube with a light and a camera lens at the end (endoscope) to examine the inside of part of your child's digestive tract. An endoscopy is performed under anesthesia. Pictures are taken of the inside of the throat, the esophagus, and the stomach to look for abnormalities. Small tissue samples, called biopsies, can also be taken to look for problems.

How is esophageal dysphagia treated in children?

Treatment for esophagitis depends on the cause, but may include:

  • Proton-pump inhibitors or other medications to treat GERD
  • Elimination of allergens or medications to treat eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Oral steroids
  • Antibiotics, antivirals or antifungals to treat certain infections