OEDIPUS COMPLEX
OESOPHAGITIS
severe cases, fluid accumulates in large
body cavities, such as the peritoneal
cavity of the abdomen in
ascites
or the
pleural cavity of the lungs in
pleural
effusion.
In
pulmonary oedema,
the air
sacs of the lungs become waterlogged.
Causes include heart failure,
kidney
failure,
and
nephrotic syndrome.
Often,
the underlying cause of oedema cannot
be treated. Treatment is focused on
increasing urine output by restricting
salt intake and using
diuretic drugs.
Oedipus
complex
A
psychoanalytic
term that describes the unconscious
sexual attachment of a child for the
parent of the opposite sex, and the con-
sequent jealousy of, and desire to
eliminate, the parent of the same sex.
oesophageal
atresia
A
rare
birth
defect
in which the oesophagus forms
into
2
separate, blind-ended sections
during development. There is usually an
abnormal channel (
tracheoesophageal
fistula
) between one of the sections and
the trachea. The condition may be sus-
pected before birth if the mother had
polyhydramnios
. The infant cannot swal-
low, and drools and regurgitates milk
continually. If there is an upper tracheo-
esophageal fistula, milk may be sucked
into the lungs, provoking attacks of
coughing
and
cyanosis
.
Immediate
surgery is needed to join the blind ends
of the oesophagus and close the fistula.
If the operation is successful, the baby
should develop normally. Some babies,
however, do not survive.
oesophageal dilatation
A procedure to
stretch the
oesophagus
when it has been
narrowed by disease (see
oesophageal
stricture)
and swallowing is difficult.
Endoscopy
is used to locate the obstruc-
tion. The narrowed area is then stretched
by passing bougies (cylindrical rods with
olive-shaped tips) down the oesopha-
gus, or by using
balloon catheters
.
oesophageal diverticulum
A sac-like
protrusion of part of the
oesophagus
wall in which food becomes trapped,
causing irritation, difficulty swallowing,
halitosis
, and regurgitation. A diverticu-
lum is usually removed surgically.
oesophageal
spasm
Uncoordinated
muscle contractions in the
oesophagus
,
which cause intermittent swallowing
difficulties and chest or upper abdomi-
nal pain. The spasm may be caused by
reflux
oesophagitis
, but often occurs for
no apparent reason. Women are more
commonly affected. A barium swallow
(see
barium X-ray examinations
) and
endoscopy
may be used to rule out a
more serious condition, such as cancer.
Treatment is of the underlying cause.
oesophageal speech
A technique for
producing speech after surgical removal
of the
larynx
(see
laryngectomy
). Air is
trapped in the
oesophagus
and is gradu-
ally expelled while the tongue, palate,
and lips form distinguishable sounds.
oesophageal stricture
Narrowing of
the
oesophagus
that may cause pain,
swallowing difficulties, weight loss, and
regurgitation of food. It may be due to
cancer (see
oesophagus, cancer of
) or, for
example, persistent reflux
oesophagitis
.
Diagnosis may include a barium swallow
(see
barium X-ray examinations
),
endos-
copy
, and
biopsy
. Usually, the narrowed
area is widened by
oesophageal dilatation
.
oesophageal varices
Widened veins in
the walls of the lower
oesophagus
and,
sometimes, the upper part of the stom-
ach. Varices develop as a consequence of
portal hypertension
. Blood in the portal
vein, passing from the intestines to the
liver, meets resistance due to liver
disease. The increased blood pressure
causes blood to be diverted into small
veins in the walls of the oesophagus and
stomach. These veins may become dis-
tended and rupture, causing vomiting of
blood and black faeces. There are usually
other symptoms of chronic liver disease.
To control acute bleeding, a
balloon
catheter
may be passed into the oesoph-
agus to press on the bleeding varices.
The varices may be treated with an intra-
venous injection of
vasopressin
and/or by
injection, via an
endoscope
, of a scle-
rosant that seals off the affected veins.
oesophagitis
Inflammation of the
oeso-
phagus
. In corrosive oesophagitis, which
is caused by swallowing caustic chemi-
cals such as cleaning fluids, there is
immediate severe pain and swelling in
the throat and mouth. Antidotes are of
limited value, and washing out the
stomach (see
lavage, gastric
) increases
the damage. Treatment consists mainly
O
411
previous page 409 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online next page 411 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online Home Toggle text on/off