Positive correlation of CTG expansion and pharyngoesophageal alterations in myotonic dystrophy patients
Alteration of the pharyngoesophageal musculature is a common finding in patients with myotonic dystrophy (MD), regardless of the presence of dysphagia. The aim of the present study was to determine whether a specific pattern of swallowing abnormalities could be identified in MD patients, and the possible correlation with the size of CTG repeats. Fifteen MD patients, 8 of whom were asymptomatic for dysphagia, underwent a videofluoroscopic study of swallowing. Alterations of the pharyngoesophageal phase of swallowing were detected in 12 of 15 patients, 6 without clinical evidence of dysphagia. Incomplete relaxation of the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) and esophageal hypotonia were the most common alterations. We found a significant correlation between the number of radiological alterations and the size of CTG repeats. A typical radiological pattern of swallowing has also been identified. The role of videofluoroscopy in evaluation of MD patients is briefly discussed.