Oropharyngeal dysphagia may occur in late-onset Pompe disease, implicating bulbar muscle involvement

Neuromuscul Disord. 2013 Apr;23(4):319-23. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2012.12.003. Epub 2013 Jan 16.


Late-onset Pompe disease (presenting after 12 months of age) often presents with limb-girdle and respiratory weakness, but oropharyngeal dysphagia has not been reported previously. A retrospective review of all late-onset Pompe disease patients evaluated in the neuromuscular clinic at Duke University Medical Center from 1999-2010 was performed. Twelve patients were identified and 3 had symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia. The medical record was reviewed, including the results of electromyography, videofluroscopic swallow examinations, and motor speech examination including instrumental assessment of lingual force with the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument. Oropharyngeal dysphagia was mild in two cases and severe in one. One of the two patients with mild severity demonstrated oral stage swallow signs; in the other, residual material was observed in the area of the cervical esophagus. In the patient with severe oropharyngeal dysphagia, both the oral and pharyngeal stages of swallowing were affected with penetration and aspiration documented. The degree of swallowing impairment appeared to correlate with overall physical strength and function. Oropharyngeal dysphagia may occur in patients with late-onset Pompe disease, implicating bulbar muscle involvement. Screening for symptoms of dysphagia may help reduce morbidity and mortality, while improving understanding of the late-onset Pompe disease phenotype. Further studies, including examination of the relationship between lingual weakness and oropharyngeal dysphagia, are warranted.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies