Globus, a non-painful sensation of a lump in the throat, is a common symptom; however, little is known about the etiology, and the causes have remained controversial. Dysphagia is a multifaceted symptom. Identifying the stage of the swallowing process at which the problem occurs directs us to possible further investigations in dysphagia diagnostics. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the etiology of globus, to clarify globus and dysphagia diagnostics, and to describe the natural course of these symptoms. In the first study, we examined the esophageal background of globus with transnasal esophagoscopy, high-resolution manometry, and 24-hour multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH monitoring. We had 30 globus patients and, as controls, 24 patients who were referred to the Department of Abdominal Surgery for evaluation of operative treatment because of difficult reflux symptoms. The study indicated that globus patients without reflux symptoms did not have acid or non-acid gastroesophageal reflux disease, the upper esophageal sphincter pressure was not elevated, and esophageal motor disorders diagnosed were mainly minor, a finding evident in healthy subjects, as well. However, globus patients had supragastric belching more often than controls with reflux. In the second study, we observed that globus patients felt symptom relief in the Reflux Symptom Index and Deglutition Handicap Index after a four-month follow-up without any treatment. None of the videolaryngoscopies revealed a laryngopharyngeal reflux using the Reflux Finding Score. A speech and language pathologist examined globus patients after four months and found six patients with simultaneous functional voice problems, possibly associated with persistent globus. In the third and fourth study, we searched from the hospital database all globus (n=76) and dysphagia (n=303) patients, respectively, who were referred to our clinic in 2009. From the medical records, we surveyed patients symptoms, investigations, findings, and treatment. From the Finnish Cancer Registry (FCR) database, we recorded all of these patients cancer diagnoses at the end of 2012. In the third study, the questionnaire concerning the globus patients present symptoms indicated that three and six years after their initial visit half of the globus patients were asymptomatic or had fewer symptoms, whereas the rest suffered persistent symptoms. Videofluorography and neck ultrasound showed no benefit in globus diagnostics. The FCR data revealed no malignancies associated with globus during the follow-up to the end of 2012. In the fourth study, dysphagia patients received a questionnaire about their current symptoms three years after their visit to our clinic. It showed that almost half of the dysphagia patients were asymptomatic or had milder symptoms, implying that spontaneous recovery may occur. Based on the case records, most dysphagia diagnoses remained unspecific dysphagia (55%) despite performing many investigations. All patients with a malignant disease either already had a positive finding at the ear, nose, and throat examination or suffered from alarming signs leading to gastroscopy, which revealed the diagnosis. The FCR data indicated no additional malignant cases during the three-year follow-up. Our study clarifies the esophageal background of globus, but also offers some new insights into possible causes. The study updates globus and dysphagia diagnostics and presents the natural course of these symptoms. According to our study, many swallowing difficulties are mild and no specific cause can be identified. Our results emphasize the importance of a careful clinical evaluation to find possible malignancies and to determine whether further investigations in dysphagia diagnostics are necessary.
|Place of Publication||Helsinki|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|MoE publication type||G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)|
Fields of Science
- 3125 Otorhinolaryngology, ophthalmology