, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 187–192 | Cite as

Prevalence of swallowing complaints and clinical findings among 50–79-year-old men and women in an urban population

  • Sven Lindgren
  • Lars Janzon


To determine the prevalence of swallowing and esophageal complaints in the general population, 300 men and 300 women were asked to answer a mailed questionnaire. The participation rate was 92.5%. Complaints were reported by 35%. The most common complaints were symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and globus sensation, both with a rate of occurrence of 20%. Obstruction of the bolus reported by 3% was the individual symptom that most frequently brought patients to the doctor. To validate the questionnaire and to study possible organic causes behind these symptoms, 46 persons with symptoms were invited to undergo further examination. Cineradiography of the pharynx revealed that 7 of 14 patients with symptoms of GER had abnormalities in the esophagus. Eleven of 55 patients with GER symptoms at least once a week underwent endoscopy. One case of erosive esophagitis and one case of gastric ulcer were diagnosed. Four of nine patients with obstructive symptoms had defective closure of the laryngeal vestibule shown by cineradiography. Endoscopy in four patients with obstructive symptoms revealed benign findings. Thus, an epidemiologic study of patients with swallowing symptoms documented a low incidence of serious organic disease.

Key words

Swallowing complaints Gastroesophageal reflux Globus Esophagitis Deglutition Deglutition disorders 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Nebel, OT, Fornes MF, Castell DO: Symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux: incidence and precipitating factors.Am J Dig Dis 21:953–956, 1976PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kuylenstierna R, Munck-Wikland E: Esophagitis and cancer of the esophagus.Cancer 56:837–839, 1985PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Monnier Ph, Savary M: Contribution of endoscopy to gastroesophageal reflux. In Sandberg N, Walan A (eds):Function and Diseases of the Oesophagus. Stockholm: Smith Kline & French AB, 1984, pp 25–45Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hawe A, Payne WS, Weiland LH, Fontana RS: Adenocarcinoma in the columnar epithelial lined lower (Barrett) ocsophagus.Thorax 28:511–514, 1973PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Naef AP, Savary M, Ozzello L. Columnar-lined lower esophagus: an acquired lesion with malignant predisposition. Report on 140 cases of Barrett's esophagus with 12 adenocarcinomas.J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 70:826–835, 1975PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Skinner DB, Walther BC, Ridell RH, Schmidt H, Jascone C, Demeester TR: Barrett's esophagus.Ann Surg 198:554–566, 1983PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tibbling L: Oesophageal dysfunction and angina pectoris in a Swedish population selected at random.Acta Med Scand Suppl 644:71–74, 1981PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Areskog M, Tibbling L, Wranne B: Diagnostic value of questionnaires regarding angina pectoris and oesophageal dysfunction in patients with chest pain.Acta Med Scand Suppl 644:13–16, 1981PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lindgren, S: Analysis of symptoms in patients with swallowing complaints of benign etiology.Diseases of the Esophagus, vol II, 1989,3:153–157Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Janzon L, Hansson BS, Isacsson S-O, Lindell S-E, Steen B: Factors influencing participation in health surveys. Results from prospective population study “Men born in 1914” in Malmö, Sweden.J Epidemiol Commun Health 40:174–177, 1986CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jones B, Ravich WJ, Donner MW, Kramer SK, Hendrix JTR: Pharyngoesophageal relationships: observations and working concepts.Gastrointest Radiol 10:225–233, 1985PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lindgren S, Ekberg O: Swallowing complaints and cineradiographic abnormalities of the pharynx.Dysphagia 3:97–101, 1988PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Lindgren
    • 1
  • Lars Janzon
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyUniversity of Lund, Malmö General HospitalMalmöSweden
  2. 2.Department of Community Health SciencesUniversity of Lund, Malmö General HospitalMalmöSweden

Personalised recommendations