Dysphagia in elderly patients has major effects on nutrition and quality of life.
Although aging itself is associated with changes in esophageal motility, the impact of this on symptoms such as dysphagia is unclear.
Data in the extreme elderly are also limited.
Dr Andrews and colleagues from Australia examined symptoms and manometric diagnoses from 46 consecutive patients.
The team compared 23 older patients with a mean age of 83 reporting esophageal dysphagia with those from 23 gender matched younger patients also with dysphagia.
|Fewer older patients reported heartburn|
|Diseases of the Esophagus|
The team found more older patients reported dysphagia as their primary symptom.
Overall, dysphagia was most common for solids only and rare for liquids only.
The research team found that dysphagia for both liquids and solids was more frequent in older patients.
Fewer older patients reported heartburn.
The researchers found manometric diagnoses were generally similar between older and young dysphagia patients.
The team noted that the most common diagnoses was 'nonspecific esophageal motility disorder' and 'ineffective peristalsis'.
There was a trend for diagnoses related to lower esophageal sphincter failure to be more frequent in younger subjects.
Dr Andrews’s team commented, “Despite differences in symptom patterns, broad manometric diagnoses in the extreme elderly with dysphagia are similar to younger dysphagia patients.”
“Further studies are required to determine whether this relates to insensitivity in recording or reporting of esophageal manometry (or perceptual differences associated with aging).”