The cricopharyngeal muscle: a videorecording review

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1984 Mar;142(3):497-500. doi: 10.2214/ajr.142.3.497.


In a review of 618 videorecordings of the pharynx and esophagus, 77 (10.8%) had cricopharyngeal abnormalities. This represents twice the reported frequency. This paper examines the cricopharyngeal abnormalities. The cricopharyngeal muscle was observed consistently malfunctioning in the same manner in 36 (47%) of the patients. It was observed most consistently (20%) as a prominent structure throughout the swallow (15 patients). It also was observed early in the swallow (13 patients), late in the swallow (six), and obstructing the pharyngoesophageal transition (two). It was observed rising and falling with the motion of the larynx during the swallow. Over half the time (53%), however, it was seen at different times during the swallow, altered its appearance from swallow to swallow, and was seen at different levels. The significance of the cricopharyngeal muscle to the patient's health remains to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Deglutition*
  • Esophagus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Pharyngeal Muscles / physiology*
  • Pharyngeal Muscles / physiopathology
  • Videotape Recording*