The Relationship Between Hiatal Hernia and Cricopharyngeus Muscle Dysfunction

Nogah Nativ-Zeltzer, Anaïs Rameau, Maggie Kuhn, Matthew Kaufman, Peter C Belafsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although the precise etiology of cricopharyngeus muscle (CPM) dysfunction (CPMD) is uncertain, many have hypothesized that a hypertrophied CPM may develop as a protective compensation against gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the association between CPMD and the presence of hiatal hernia (HH) in an attempt to elucidate the potential etiology of CPMD. The charts of individuals who underwent video fluoroscopic esophagrams between 01/01/14 and 10/30/16 were reviewed from an electronic database. A group of 50 subjects with reported HH were identified and age- and gender-matched to an individual without HH. The prevalence of CPMD was compared between groups. The mean (± SD) age of the HH cohort was 64 (± 13.4) years and 64 (± 12.8) years for the group without HH (p > 0.05). Thirty-eight percent was male. The frequency of CPMD in the HH group was 78% versus 58% in the non-HH group (p < 0.05). Individuals with a HH were 2.57 times more likely to have evidence of CPMD (95% CI 1.07– 6.15). Although these data suggest an association between GERD and CPMD, further research is required before a causal relationship can be presumed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Cricopharyngeus muscle dysfunction
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Hiatal hernia
  • PES
  • Pharyngoesophageal segment
  • UES
  • Upper esophageal sphincter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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