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Cricopharyngeal Dilatation for the Long-term Treatment of Dysphagia in Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy

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Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) is a rare autosomal dominant, progressive degenerative muscle disorder featuring dysphagia with limited therapeutic options. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of repeated endoscopic dilatation for OPMD over a 15-year period. All patients seen at our Regional Swallowing Clinic with OPMD confirmed by genetic analysis were included. Cricopharyngeal dilatation was performed as an outpatient procedure using a wire-guided 18-mm (54 Fr) Savary-Gilliard bougie with the patient under sedation. Patients were offered repeat endoscopic dilatation when symptoms recurred. Symptom severity prior to initial dilatation and at follow-up was evaluated using the Sydney Swallow Questionnaire (SSQ). Nine patients (7 female, 2 male) were included for analysis. Median total treatment period was 13 years (range = 3–15), median number of dilatations per patient was 7.2 (range = 1–16), and median interval between treatments was 15 months (range = 4.5–45). All patients recorded sustained symptom improvement. Mean SSQ score (out of 1,700) was 1,108.11 (SD ± 272.85) prior to first dilatation and 297.78 (SD ± 189.14) at last follow-up, representing a 73% decrease (95% CI = 52–94) in degree of dysphagia symptoms (paired t-test, P = 0.0001). All mean scores for individual questions also showed significant improvement (P < 0.05). No adverse events were reported with all patients maintaining oral feeding at last follow-up. Repeated cricopharyngeal dilatation is a safe, effective, well-tolerated, and long-lasting treatment for dysphagia in OPMD.

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We are grateful for the input of Dr. David Robinson, Deputy Head of Molecular Genetics, Wessex Regional Genetics Laboratory, UK.

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Correspondence to Joseph G. Manjaly.

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Manjaly, J.G., Vaughan-Shaw, P.G., Dale, O.T. et al. Cricopharyngeal Dilatation for the Long-term Treatment of Dysphagia in Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy. Dysphagia 27, 216–220 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00455-011-9356-y

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  • Dysphagia
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Oesophageal dilatation
  • OPMD
  • Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders