Sliding Hiatal Hernia

Picture of a sliding hiatal hernia

The esophagus connects to the stomach at an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is normally at the same level as the diaphragm, keeps stomach contents (food, acid, and other digestive juices) from backing up (or refluxing) into the esophagus.

But when a sliding hiatal hernia is present, part of the stomach moves up through the hiatus and into the chest cavity. This pushes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) up into the chest cavity away from the hiatus. Away from the hiatus, the LES loses the support that it needs from the diaphragm to stay closed. This raises the risk for symptoms of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD, FACP, FACG - Gastroenterology

Current as ofMarch 28, 2018

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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