Rationale: Mixed connective tissue disease is a systemic inflammatory disorder that results in both pulmonary and esophageal manifestations.
Objectives: We sought to evaluate the relationship between esophageal dysfunction and interstitial lung disease in patients with mixed connective tissue disease.
Methods: We correlated the pulmonary function data and the high-resolution computed tomography findings of interstitial lung disease with the results of esophageal evaluation in manometry, 24-hour intraesophageal pH measurements, and the presence of esophageal dilatation on computed tomography scan.
Measurements and main results: Fifty consecutive patients with mixed connective tissue disease, according to Kasukawa's classification criteria, were included in this prospective study. High-resolution computed tomography parenchymal abnormalities were present in 39 of 50 patients. Esophageal dilatation, gastroesophageal reflux, and esophageal motor impairment were also very prevalent (28 of 50, 18 of 36, and 30 of 36, respectively). The presence of interstitial lung disease on computed tomography was significantly higher among patients with esophageal dilatation (92% vs. 45%; p<0.01) and among patients with severe motor dysfunction (90% vs. 35%; p<0.001).
Conclusions: Although we were not able to prove a causal relationship between esophageal and pulmonary involvement, our series revealed a strong association between esophageal motor dysfunction and interstitial lung disease in patients with mixed connective tissue disease.