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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 47

of 'Approach to the evaluation of dysphagia in adults'

Esophageal motor function in primary Sjögren's syndrome: correlation with dysphagia and xerostomia.
Anselmino M, Zaninotto G, Costantini M, Ostuni P, Ianniello A, BoccúC, Doria A, Todesco S, Ancona E
Dig Dis Sci. 1997;42(1):113.
The incidence of dysphagia in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome (pSS) has been underestimated and all too often ascribed to xerostomia, without considering the possible presence of esophageal motor abnormalities affecting other nonscleroderma connective tissue diseases. Esophageal and salivary functions were prospectively evaluated in 27 females who met the four criteria proposed by Fox for the diagnosis of pSS, using esophageal manometry after wet swallows and Saxon's test, respectively. Dysphagia was graded using a standard symptoms questionnaire and results were compared with those obtained in a group of 21 healthy controls. Seven patients with pSS (26%) had no swallowing discomfort, 2 (7.4%) had mild dysphagia, 7 (26%) had moderate dysphagia, and 11 (40.6%) had severe dysphagia. Saxon's test revealed an overall decrease in the salivary flow rate compared to controls, with no difference between patients with or without dysphagia. Esophageal manometry demonstrated the absence of any lower or upper esophageal sphincter function abnormalities in all patients. In the patients with pSS as a whole, manometric study of the esophageal body showed a motor pattern comparable with that of controls, with no difference between patients with and without dysphagia. Defective peristalsis, ie, the presence of simultaneous contractions in more than 30% of wet swallowswas detected, however, in the distal tract of the esophagus of six patients (22.2%) and in the proximal tract of three (11.1%). All these patients had severe dysphagia and the modified Saxon's test revealed a salivary secretion comparable with that of patients with a normal peristalsis. Dysphagia is a very common complaint in patients with pSS and does not seem to correlate with xerostomia, which is a constant and typical finding of the disease. About one third of patients with pSS have an abnormal esophageal peristalsis that is responsible for severe dysphagia, whereas decreased salivary outflow exacerbates the swallowing discomfort. This has to be taken into account and justifies the routine use of esophageal manometry in patients with pSS. The cause of dysphagia in pSS patients without peristaltic disorders of the esophagus has to be investigated.
Department of Surgery, University of Padua, School of Medicine, Italy.