Pharyngeal Stasis of Secretions in Patients with Zenker Diverticulum

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



To determine whether patients with Zenker diverticulum are more likely to have stasis of secretions in the left piriform sinus, on in-office endoscopy, than patients with nonspecific dysphagia.

Study Design.

A case-control study.


A subspecialty swallowing clinic.

Subjects and Methods.

All patients with radiographically confirmed Zenker diverticulum who were evaluated over a 5-year period were selected. A control group with dysphagia due to radiographically confirmed esophageal dysmotility, prominent cricopharyngeal bar, or stricture was identified. Two blinded laryngologists reviewed the recorded laryngopharyngoscopies.


Thirty-four patients with Zenker diverticulum were identified; 11 were excluded because of previous surgery or other neurological conditions. Twelve (52.17%) of the remaining 23 Zenker diverticulum patients and 2 of the 73 (2.74%) control patients had greater pooling in the left versus right piriform sinus (2-tailed t test, P < .0001). The sensitivity of this physical examination finding in identifying patients with Zenker diverticulum was 52.17% (95% confidence interval, 31.08%-72.58%) and specificity was 97.26% (95% confidence interval, 89.56-99.52%). Patients with Zenker diverticulum less than 4 cm in size had increased pooling in the left versus right piriform compared with larger diverticulums. After surgical intervention, there was a statistically significant decrease in the asymmetrical pooling (2-tailed t test, P = .0067).


Increased pooling in the left compared with the right piriform, on in-office endoscopy, is predictive of the presence of a Zenker diverticulum. This information can sharpen clinical acumen in evaluating patients with dysphagia. In turn, it will help the clinician counsel the patient regarding diagnosis and radiographic imaging.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles