Severe vomiting in the new-born infant is usually of grave portent, suggestive of a serious underlying pathologic process. The recognition of definite cardiospasm in three such cases has prompted an investigation of this unusual condition, as its detection in the new-born infant has hitherto not elicited comment.
Cardiospasm is defined as a spasm of the smooth muscle fibers surrounding the cardiac orifice, resulting in partial or complete occlusion of the lower end of the esophagus. It is therefore a functional disturbance of neurotic origin, causing failure of the lower end of the esophagus to consummate the act of deglutition.
The earliest description of cardiospasm was given by von Ziemssen and Zenker in 1824. In 1833 Hannay applied the name "idiopathic dilatation of the oesophagus" to the condition, but in 1882 Mikulicz considered that the obstruction was due to simple spasm at the cardiac orifice; he applied to the spasm the