Steakhouse Syndrome

(Esophageal Food Bolus Obstruction; Syndrome, Steakhouse)


Steakhouse syndrome is a condition in which a mass of food (called a bolus) becomes stuck in the lower part of the esophagus. The esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach.
The Esophagus
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Steakhouse syndrome is caused by a mass of food, usually meat, blocking the passageway of the esophagus.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of steakhouse syndrome include:
  • Not chewing your food completely
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Wearing dentures
  • Having a physical problem that affects how food moves down the esophagus:
  • Having a condition that affects the esophagus, such as:
    • Ring of tissue that forms in the lower part of the esophagus—Schatzkis ring
    • Narrowing of the esophagus caused by scar tissue—esophageal stricture
    • Upper part of the stomach moves up through a small opening into the chest—hiatal hernia
    • Chronic inflammation in the esophagus—eosinophilic esophagitis
    • Esophageal cancer or other tumors


Steakhouse syndrome may cause:
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Coughing, gagging, choking

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