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Dysphagia in patients with Chagas’ disease and Zenker’s diverticulum

It is described the cases of two patients, one female and one male, both 64 years old, who had Zenker’s diverticulum associated to chagasic esophagopathy. One of them had esophageal dysphagia for five years, later associated with oropharyngeal dysphagia (for nine months). The other patient had oropharyngeal dysphagia for eight months. Both had lived in endemic areas for Chagas’ disease, and had positive serologic tests for the disease. In the clinical evaluation, both patients had slow ingestion of liquids and paste bolus, and residues in oral cavity, without coughing after deglutition. Diagnosis was made by serologic test and radiologic examination of pharynx and esophagus, as well as a careful endoscopic examination. Radiologic results showed, in one of the subjects, pharyngo-esophageal diverticulum (Zenker), and slow barium bolus transit (more than ten seconds to cross the esophageal body), and, in the other patient, Zenker’s diverticulum and normal esophageal transit duration (less than ten seconds), with presence of tertiary contractions. Treatment consisted of diverticulectomy, cricopharyngeal myotomy, and cardiomyotomy of the lower esophageal sphincter for one patient, and cricopharyngeal myotomy for the other one. It is concluded that it is possible to have association of two causes of dysphagia in the same patient: the oropharyngeal, due to Zenker’s diverticulum, and the esophageal, due to Chagas’ disease. The knowledge of cause-effect relationship between these conditions needs further investigations.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia