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Risk factors in patients undergoing cricopharyngeal myotomy. BJS 2007; 94: 978-983.

Published: 14th May 2007

Authors: C. Brigand, P. Ferraro, J. Martin, A. Duranceau

Background

Cricopharyngeal myotomy for oropharyngeal dysphagia is designed to improve symptoms, but the operation can result in significant morbidity and even death.

Method

A retrospective analysis was carried out of all complications and deaths among 253 patients who had cricopharyngeal myotomy performed by a single surgeon.

Results

A single wound infection developed among 15 patients with neurological dysphagia. The same patient subsequently required laryngeal exclusion and tracheostomy. Of 139 patients treated for dysphagia secondary to muscular dystrophy, haematoma formation or infection occurred in four, and eight patients developed postoperative pulmonary complications, four of whom died from respiratory distress syndrome. Two patients with myogenic dysphagia required laryngeal exclusion with a permanent tracheostomy. Infection of the wound or retropharyngeal space was the main problem in 90 patients with a pharyngo‐oesophageal diverticulum, affecting 9 per cent of the patients. Fistula was documented in three patients overall (1·2 per cent). Systemic morbidity unrelated to the technique occurred in 26 patients (10·3 per cent).

Conclusion

Pulmonary aspiration and lethal respiratory distress occurred only in patients with myogenic dysphagia. Local infection was the main complication in those with pharyngo‐oesophageal diverticulum. Persistent aspiration can lead to laryngeal exclusion or resection with permanent tracheostomy. Copyright © 2007 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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