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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Air column in esophagus and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease

Alijavad Moosavi1, Hanieh Raji2, Mojtaba Teimoori3 and Shadi Ghourchian4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of pulmonary diseases, Rasoul-e-Akram Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Sattakhan street, Tehran(1445613131), Iran

2 Department of pulmonary diseases, Jundishopur University of Medical Sciences, Golestan boulevard, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Nephrology and Urology Research Center, Medical Faculty, Baqyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Mollasadra street, Tehran, Iran

4 Medical student, Scientific students' research center of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, DDRI of Rasoul hospital, Sattakhan street, Tehran (1445613131), Iran

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BMC Medical Imaging 2012, 12:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2342-12-2

Published: 25 January 2012



During imaging of the normal esophagus, air is often detected. The purpose of this study was to determine the correlation between the appearance of air bubbles on imaging and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) symptoms.


The cross-sectional imaging study was conducted at Rasole Akram Hospital, Tehran, Iran. A total of 44 patients underwent X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning; the presence of air in the esophagus and visible on CT imaging was scrutinized.


The average age of the subjects was 59 and the male to female ratio was 0.83. We found a significant relationship between the presence of GERD symptoms, the size of air bubbles and esophageal dilation (ED) on the CT scan.


Air bubbles in the esophagus may be seen frequently in CT scans, but their size and location can vary. The GERD symptoms can arise when a small diameter air column is present within the esophagus, especially in the middle and lower parts.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease; chest computed tomography; radiographic anatomy