Cricopharyngeal Dysfunction in a Patient With Achalasia

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A 64-year-old man had intense dysphagia and aspiration of 1 month's duration. The patient had lower esophageal sphincter (LES) achalasia and cricopharyngeal dysfunction, with generalized muscle weakness discovered by neurologic examination. Endoscopy showed no lesions of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, or esophagus. The diagnosis of achalasia was made by manometry. The LES did not relax with deglutition; the contractions in the esophageal body were nonperistaltic and of low amplitude; and the upper esophageal sphincter pressure did not decrease after deglutition. A scintigraphic study of the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing showed a mouth and pharyngeal retention of 90% of the volume swallowed.

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