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Combined Achalasia and Cricopharyngeal Achalasia in a Patient with Type 1 Myotonic Dystrophy: A Case Report

Sami Ghazaleh, Christian Nehme, Yasmin Khader, Syed Hasan, Ali Nawras



Introduction: Type 1 myotonic dystrophy (MD) is a rare inherited disease that presents with skeletal muscle weakness and myotonia. Involvement of smooth muscles is also common and mainly manifests in the gastrointestinal tract. We report a case of type 1 MD who presented with dysphagia and was found to have unique esophageal manometry findings.

Case presentation: A 57-year-old male patient presented with dysphagia for the last few months. Past medical history was significant for type 1 myotonic muscular dystrophy, gastroesophageal reflux disease, diaphragmatic paralysis, and obstructive sleep apnea. Both his father and brother died in their 50s because of unclear respiratory problems. He was a former smoker and did not drink alcohol. Review of systems was unremarkable. His neurological exam was significant for bilateral facial muscle weakness and mild ptosis. He had atrophy and weakness of the distal upper and lower extremities. Deep tendon reflexes were absent. Upper endoscopy and 24-hour esophageal pH testing were non-diagnostic. Finally, esophageal manometry revealed elevated lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure, elevated upper esophageal sphincter (UES) pressure, and very week peristalsis of the esophageal body.

Discussion: Esophageal involvement is common in type 1 MD manifesting with dysfunction of UES, esophageal body, and LES. Manometry usually describes a reduced resting tone of the UES and LES. The patient had elevated LES pressure and week peristalsis of the esophageal body consistent with achalasia. He also had an elevated UES pressure consistent with cricopharyngeal achalasia. This is the opposite of what is expected in type 1 MD.


Esophageal achalasia; dysphagia; myotonic dystrophy


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/ghfbb.v13i2.1799