The frequency of cricopharyngeal dysfunction on videofluoroscopic swallowing studies in patients with dysphagia.Am J Otolaryngol. 1997 May-Jun; 18(3):185-9.AJ
Dysphagia associated with cricopharyngeal dysfunction (CPD) is of particular interest to the otolaryngologist because it may respond to cricopharyngeal myotomy. There is a wide variation in the reported incidence of cricopharyngeal dysfunction in patients with dysphagia. This can be attributed to the different populations being studied, the lack of uniform criteria for diagnosis, and to different techniques used to evaluate patients. We have reviewed videofluoroscopic swallowing studies (VSS) conducted on 443 consecutive patients with complaints of dysphagia to identify the incidence of cricopharyngeal dysfunction.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
The patient population consists of 443 veterans with complaints of dysphagia who were evaluated by videofluoroscopic swallowing studies at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, East Orange, NJ, between November 1988 and March 1993.
Cricopharyngeal dysfunction was diagnosed radiologically as the appearance of a shelf in the posterior column of barium at the level of the cricoid cartilage. It was identified in 10 of 177 (5.7%) patients with neurological disorders, in 7 of 142 (4.9%) patients with head and neck or esophageal tumors, and in 11 of 124 (8.9%) patients with other medical problems.
These results do not support the notion that cricopharyngeal dysfunction is an important factor in a significant proportion of patients with dysphagia. It is recognized that videofluoroscopy may not always detect cricopharyngeal dysfunction and that better criteria for identifying this entity are needed.