Zenker diverticulum


Zenker diverticulum


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USMLE® Step 1 questions

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Zenker diverticulum

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An 80-year-old man comes to the clinic due for a follow-up after hospitalization. He was hospitalized two weeks ago for pneumonia and was treated with ampicillin-sulbactam. Medical history is notable for type 2 diabetes mellitus and aortic stenosis. Further medical history reveals 2 prior hospitalizations in the past year for pneumonia. The patient reports difficulty swallowing and regurgitation of undigested food particles. A barium esophagram is performed and shown below:  

Retrieved from: Wikimedia Commons

Which of the following areas is most likely responsible for this patient’s condition?  


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Zenker diverticulum p. 393


Zenker diverticulum p. 393

Geriatric patients

Zenker diverticulum p. 393


Zenker diverticulum p. 393

Zenker diverticulum p. 393, 729

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Zenker diverticulum, also known as a pharyngeal diverticulum, is a condition where a small pouch or sac protrudes from the mucosa of the human pharynx. It is a false diverticulum because it does not involve all layers of the esophageal wall. Symptoms of Zenker diverticulum include dysphagia, obstruction, gurgling, coughing, bad breath, and possibly a neck mass. Sometimes, it becomes infected, leading to fever, throat pain, and a foul-smelling discharge. Complications of Zenker diverticulum can include malnutrition, pneumonia, and aspiration. Treatment options include surgery, endoscopic therapy to seal the opening of the diverticulum, or balloon dilation.


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