Primary biliary cirrhosis, sicca complex, and dysphagia

Dysphagia. Summer 1997;12(3):167-70. doi: 10.1007/PL00009532.


We investigated symptoms suggestive of swallowing problems in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis, some of whom displayed features of sicca complex. A prospective study of 95 consecutive patients with primary biliary cirrhosis was conducted at a single teaching hospital using a questionnaire administered over the telephone. Some symptoms of sicca complex (dry mouth and/or dry eyes) were found in 65 patients (68.4%). Subjective xerostomia alone was present in 45 patients (47.4%). The questionnaire revealed an increase in incidence of dysphagia in xerostomia subjects, affecting 21 of 45 patients, compared with 6 of 50 non-xerostomia patients. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that confounding factors such as age, obesity, cigarette smoking, and medications associated with a dry mouth could not explain these findings. Twenty-eight patients complained of hoarseness, 23 of coughing, and 14 of wheezing, all of which were significantly more frequent than in the 50 patients without xerostomia. Heartburn affected 17 xerostomia patients and 15 non-xerostomia patients, indicating no difference in frequency between these two groups, even after age, obesity, cigarette smoking, and medications associated with heartburn were considered in the multivariate analysis. Acid regurgitation, nausea, and vomiting were also similar in frequency between patients with and without xerostomia. Swallowing problems, manifested primarily as dysphagia, are common in primary biliary cirrhosis patients who have subjective xerostomia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Deglutition / physiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / etiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / etiology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires