Send to

Choose Destination
Dig Dis Sci. 1992 Apr;37(4):551-7.

Oropharyngeal and esophageal interrelationships in patients with nonobstructive dysphagia.

Author information

Gastroenterology Section, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Martinez, California 94553.


Normal swallowing requires the close functional coordination of the mouth, pharynx, and esophagus, and if one of these components becomes functionally impaired, it is likely that the others may be affected. Using videofluoroscopy and manometry in this study, we examined the esophageal phase of swallowing in 12 patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia (group A) and the oropharyngeal components of swallowing in 29 patients with esophageal motor dysfunction and nonobstructive dysphagia (group B). A wide range of esophageal function abnormalities was seen in the first group, including delayed esophageal body peristalsis, spontaneous or simultaneous (tertiary) contractions, esophageal body dilation, proximal bolus redirection, and poor lower esophageal sphincter relaxation. Manometrically, 92% of group A patients were classified as having nonspecific esophageal motility disorder (NSEMD). In a similar fashion, group B patients exhibited many oropharyngeal function abnormalities on videofluorography including disturbed lingual peristalsis, slowed pharyngeal transit time with poor constriction of pharyngeal muscles, and laryngeal vestibular and tracheal bolus penetration. Manometrically, group B patients were classified as having NSEMD, achalasia, diffuse esophageal spasm, nutcracker esophagus, scleroderma, and chronic intestinal pseudoobstruction. In conclusion, oropharyngeal function is significantly altered in patients with esophageal motility disorders and dysphagia, and esophageal motor dysfunction occurs in patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia. These changes may represent either a compensatory mechanism or concomitant involvement of the oropharynx or the esophagus by the underlying neuromotor disorder. We suggest that assessment by esophageal motility and videofluoroscopy of both the oropharyngeal and esophageal phases of swallowing may improve diagnosis and therapy in patients with nonobstructive dysphagia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center