The aims of this study were to assess the efficacy and safety of botulinum toxin (BoTox) injection in the cricopharyngeus muscle (CP) and CP myotomy in patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia (OPD) and to identify factors predicting the outcome of these treatments. The study involved patients with persistent OPD despite 2-6 months of rehabilitation, who all underwent clinical evaluation, esophageal manometry, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, and videofluoroscopy (VFS). Patients received 5-10 BoTox units injections in the CP, identified by electromyography. Surgical myotomy of the upper esophageal sphincter was performed when dysphagia persisted after two BoTox injections. After treatment, patients were reevaluated with clinical interviews and VFS. The study population included 21 patients (15 mean and 6 women; median age, 68 years), classified into three groups, based on the etiology of their OPD: eight (38%) had central nervous system abnormalities, five (24%) had peripheral nerve disease, and eight (38%) were classified as idiopathic. The median time since the onset of dysphagia was 18 months. Thirteen of 21 patients (62%) needed supplemental/total gastrostomy feeding, and 5 of 21 (24%) had tracheostomy. One patient died, on posttreatment day 7, due to massive aspiration. No other BoTox-related complications were observed. After BoTox injection, dysphagia improved in 9 of 21 (43%) patients. Severely altered VFS findings and CP incoordination or low activity predicted BoTox failure at multivariate analysis. Dysphagia improved in 8 of 11 (72.7%) patients who failed to respond to BoTox and underwent myotomy. A mild impairment of VFS findings and a higher pressure of pharyngeal contractions best predicted response to BoTox with or without myotomy. BoTox injection can be used as the first therapeutic option in patients with OPD: it is safe and simple and relieves dysphagia in 43% of cases. If BoTox fails, CP myotomy can be offered to patients with preserved oral and tongue activity at VFS and an intact bolus propulsion ability on manometry.
- Oropharyngeal dysphagia
ASJC Scopus subject areas