Which complications of esophageal dysmotility may be present in CREST syndrome?

Updated: Oct 05, 2020
  • Author: Jeanie C Yoon, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Barrett esophagitis, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux, has been found in scleroderma patients, perhaps at a higher rate (37% in patients with scleroderma vs 4-13% in patients without scleroderma). Esophageal adenocarcinoma, a malignant transformation of Barrett esophagitis, has also been documented in scleroderma patients.

Another potential complication of esophageal dysmotility and gastroesophageal reflux is occult aspiration and pulmonary disease. In 1989, Johnson et al [46] examined 13 patients with systemic sclerosis using endoscopy, laryngoscopy, esophageal manometry, 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring, pulmonary function testing, and aspiration scanning. All 13 patients had endoscopic evidence of reflux. Twelve patients had abnormal laryngeal examination findings suggestive of aspiration; however, in this group, 1 patient had no evidence of proximal reflux by pH monitoring and 2 patients had normal aspiration scan results. Nonetheless, an inverse relationship was found between diffusing capacity of lung for carbon dioxide and esophageal reflux scores, indicating that gastroesophageal reflux potentially contributes to diminished pulmonary function.


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