Cricopharyngeal achalasia in children: Botulinum toxin injection as a tool for diagnosis and treatment

Melissa A. Scholes, Timothy McEvoy, Hayat Mousa, Gregory J. Wiet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis Characteristics and outcomes of pediatric patients undergoing cricopharyngeus injection with botulinum toxin for the treatment of cricopharyngeal achalasia were reviewed. A parental telephone survey was performed to assess improvement and satisfaction. Study Design Retrospective review of patients who underwent injection of the cricopharyngeus with botulinum toxin for cricopharyngeal achalasia. A prospective survey of postoperative symptoms and parental satisfaction was also performed. Methods After institutional review board approval, children with cricopharyngeal achalasia who underwent injection with botulinum toxin were identified. Specific parameters were recorded for each patient. A survey of the parents' satisfaction and subjective improvement was then conducted. Results Six children were identified with cricopharyngeal achalasia, with an age range of 3 months to 10 years. Symptoms varied and five of the six children required some form of altered nutrition. Preoperative studies varied, and the number of injections ranged from one to three per patient. One child had transient worsening of aspiration. Two children benefited from injections and went on to myotomy, while four children did not require myotomy and their symptoms were treated with injections alone. A parental survey was performed via telephone. All parents were satisfied with the procedure. Three children were symptom-free, and three children still exhibit some dysphagia. Conclusions Botulinum toxin injection is a useful tool to help diagnose and treat pediatric cricopharyngeal achalasia. More research is needed to elucidate optimal dosing, frequency of injections, and when to move on to surgical intervention. Level of Evidence 4. Laryngoscope, 124:1475-1480, 2014

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1475-1480
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cricopharyngeal achalasia
  • botulinum toxin
  • cricopharyngeus
  • dysphagia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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