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Office-Based Cricopharyngeus Balloon Dilation for Post Chemoirradiation Dysphagia in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Patients: A Pilot Study

Raymond Fong, Nikie Sun, Yiu-Wing Ng, Anna F Rumbach, Elizabeth C Ward, Raymond Tsang
Dysphagia 2019 March 19
Dysphagia is a common sequela post chemo/radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), with cricopharyngeal dysfunction often a contributing factor. This study examined the impact of balloon dilation of the cricopharyngeus and cervical oesophagus on swallow competence for dysphagic patients with cricopharyngeal dysfunction post NPC. Patients with NPC were screened for dysphagia and cricopharyngeal dysfunction using fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation. Thirteen symptomatic patients, median 14.1 years post chemoradiotherapy for NPC, then underwent balloon dilation under local anesthesia. Before and 1 month post dilation, swallow function was assessed with fluoroscopy, and rated using the penetration-aspiration scale, temporal swallowing measures, and MBSImP pharyngoesophageal segment opening and esophageal clearance parameter. The MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI; Chinese version) and the Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS) were collected pre-, 1 month, and approximately 3 months post dilation. Post-dilation, significant improvements were noted in mean FOIS scores (5.00 to 5.62), duration of cricopharyngeus opening (0.42 s to 0.53 s), MBSImP pharyngoesophageal opening scores (1.61 to 1.08), penetration-aspiration scale scores (4.85 to 3.92) and MDADI Composite score (46.48 to 52.43). At 3 months post dilation, the MDADI Composite Score showed sustained benefit. The procedure was well tolerated and without complication. In patients with cricopharyngeal dysfunction post NPC, balloon dilation significantly improved swallow function, reduced aspiration risk and improved quality of life. Evidence from a larger cohort with long-term follow-up is warranted to determine sustained benefit.


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