Pharyngeal dysphagia in postesophagectomy patients: Correlation with deglutitive biomechanics

Caryn S. Easterling, Michael Bousamra, Ivan M. Lang, Mark K. Kern, Terilynn Nitschke, Eytan Bardan, Reza Shaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Because of the transient nature of pharyngeal phase dysphagia, posttranshiatal esophagectomy patients provide a model for studying the correlation of dysphagic symptoms and aspiration with deglutitive biomechanics. Methods. We studied 8 transhiatal esophagectomy patients (age range, 51 to 78 years) and 8 normal age-matched controls in upright position using lateral and anteroposterior (AP) projection videofluoroscopy during three 5 mL barium swallows. Results. The maximum upper esophageal sphincter (UES) AP diameter and maximum anterior excursion of the hyoid bone in patients with transhiatal esophagectomy who experienced aspiration (6.2 ± 0.6 and 9.0 ± 2.0 mm, respectively) were significantly smaller than those of age-matched normal controls (9.4 ± 0.7 and 17.0 ± 1.0 mm, respectively). Resolution of aspiration was associated with a significant increase in AP diameter of the UPS as well as anterior and superior excursion of the hyoid bone (p < 0.05). Conclusions. Dysphagic symptoms and aspiration in posttranshiatal esophagectomy patients are associated with significant abnormalities of deglutitive-biomechanics. Improvement in deglutitive biomechanics is associated with resolution of dysphagic symptoms as well as postdeglutitive aspiration in these patients. (C) 2000 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-992
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


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