Twenty patients with a remote history of poliomyelitis and recent or progressive dysphagia were evaluated with cinefluorography. Radiographic abnormalities were present in the pharynx in varying degrees in all but one of the patients. Findings included atrophy of the prevertebral soft tissues, unilateral or bilateral weakness of the tongue or soft palate, paresis or paralysis of the pharyngeal constrictor muscle, incomplete or absent epiglottic tilt, poor laryngeal elevation, poor laryngeal closure with laryngeal penetration, aspiration (often without a cough), and luminal narrowing at the cricopharyngeal level. Other structural lesions included a Zenker diverticulum in one patient, bilateral pharyngeal pouches in five, and a unilateral pouch in one. Additional structural lesions contributing to dysphagia were found in two other patients, including a focal stricture in the cervical esophagus in one patient and two stenotic rings in the distal esophagus in another. In four patients (one of whom had the Zenker diverticulum), the inferior constrictor muscle contracted forcibly above a prominent cricopharyngeus muscle, perhaps contributing to the formation of the diverticulum. It is important to examine postpolio patients with dysphagia carefully with dynamic imaging to assess the severity of decompensation and to detect other lesions that may be treatable. The information derived can be used to guide management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging