Anatomy & Physiology Gastrointestinal #16

Question

Which statement accurately reflects the esophageal sphincters that aid in the digestive process?

Answers

  1. The esophagus does not have any sphincters.
    • Rationale:

      This esophagus has two sphincters; therefore, this is an inaccurate statement.

  2. There are four sphincters within the esophagus.
    • Rationale:

      The esophagus has two, not four, sphincters; therefore, this is an inaccurate statement.

  3. There are two sphincters where the esophagus meets the stomach.
    • Rationale:

      While the esophagus does have two sphincters, they are not both located where the esophagus meets the stomach; therefore, this is an inaccurate statement.

  4. The esophagus has two sphincters, one at the top and one at the bottom.
    • Rationale:

      The esophagus has two sphincters, one at the top by the pharynx which is referred to as the upper esophageal sphincter and another at the bottom by the stomach which is referred to as the lower esophageal sphincter. Therefore, this statement is accurate.

Overview

A sphincter is an annular muscle that maintains constriction of a body passage. The function of a sphincter is to decrease the backflow of substances from one structure to another.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

The esophagus is a long, straight, and hollow structure that connects the pharynx with the stomach. The esophagus has two sphincters, one at the top and another at the bottom. The sphincters prevent the backflow of fluids from the esophagus (the top sphincter) to the pharynx and the back of chyme from the stomach back into the esophagus (the bottom sphincter).

Test Taking Tip

Ask yourself if each choice is true or false. The true statement is the correct answer to this question.

Video Rationale