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 Table of Contents  
CASE REPORT
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 343-346

Dysphagia aortica: Emerging role of endoscopic ultrasound (with videos)


1 Department of Gastroenterology, Jaswant Rai Speciality Hospital, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Gastroenterology, Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, Punjab, India

Date of Submission15-Sep-2014
Date of Acceptance01-Dec-2015
Date of Web Publication08-Nov-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Malay Sharma
Department of Gastroenterology, Jaswant Rai Speciality Hospital, Meerut - 250 001, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2303-9027.193571

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  Abstract 


Dysphagia can occur due to extrinsic compression on esophagus. Dysphagia due to intrathoracic vascular causes is rare. Most reported cases of vascular etiology are due to dysphagia lusoria. Dysphagia due to any anomaly of aorta is called dysphagia aortica. In an emergency setting, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) has been found to be superior and more sensitive for detection of abdominal aortic aneurysms over conventional radiological methods. We present a series of four cases of dysphagia aortica where the diagnosis was made by endoscopic ultrasound.

Keywords: Aorta, dissecting aneurysm, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)


How to cite this article:
Sharma M, Singh P, Kirnake V, Toshniwal J, Chopra A. Dysphagia aortica: Emerging role of endoscopic ultrasound (with videos). Endosc Ultrasound 2018;7:343-6

How to cite this URL:
Sharma M, Singh P, Kirnake V, Toshniwal J, Chopra A. Dysphagia aortica: Emerging role of endoscopic ultrasound (with videos). Endosc Ultrasound [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Nov 22];7:343-6. Available from: http://www.eusjournal.com/text.asp?2018/7/5/343/193571




  Introduction Top


Dysphagia can be caused by intraluminal, intramural, or extramural pathologies of the esophagus. Among the extramural causes, dysphagia due to intrathoracic vascular cause is rare. Most reported cases of vascular etiology are due to dysphagia lusoria, which occurs due to compression by aberrant right subclavian artery.[1] Dysphagia due to any anomaly of aorta is called dysphagia aortica and can occur due to aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection or aortoesophageal fistula. Clinical presentation of dysphagia aortica is varied ranging from asymptomatic cases diagnosed only at the time of autopsy to frank dysphagia and catastrophic hematemesis.[2] A high index of suspicion and accurate diagnosis by appropriate imaging results in early management.[3] There is no gold standard diagnostic procedure for dysphagia aortica and the general diagnostic approach includes standard esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) of the thorax and abdomen or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).[4] Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has been considered as the first choice diagnostic tool in aortic aneurysm.[5] In an emergency setting, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) has been found to be superior and more sensitive for the detection of abdominal aortic aneurysms over conventional radiological methods.[6]

We present a series of four cases of dysphagia aortica who presented with dysphagia and in whom EUS made a quick and accurate diagnosis after preliminary EGD.


  Case Reports Top


Case 1

A 94-year-old gentleman came to the emergency department in the evening with a history of choking during afternoon meals with a bout of hematemesis. EGD revealed an extrinsic compression in the upper esophagus with oozing of blood from the central part of the extrinsic compression [Figure 1]a. The scope could be negotiated into the stomach and the rest of the examination was normal. A EUS showed aneurysm of aorta extending from the aortic arch to the level of celiac artery [Figure 1]b and [Figure 1]c and videos 1 and 2]. CECT of the thorax showed the same findings [Figure 1]d. The patient was referred for surgery to a cardiothoracic surgery center where the cardiothoracic surgeons discussed the risk of surgery with the relatives. The relatives refused surgery and the patient expired 2 months later after an episode of massive hematemesis.
Figure 1: (a) Bulging aneurysm compressing the esophagus with overlying ulcer (b) Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) image of aneurysm (c) EUS image of aneurysm with thrombus at the level of arch (d) Computed tomography (CT) scan showing thrombus and dissection

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Case 2

A 74-year-old gentleman was referred for evaluation of sudden dysphagia with a bout of hematemesis. EGD revealed a bulge in the middle of the esophagus with the presence of ulceration on the central part of the bulge and a blood clot over the ulcerated area [Figure 2]a. EUS revealed a saccular aneurysm of 5 cm diameter near the middle of esophagus, with the neck of the aneurysm of 2-cm diameter communicating with the thoracic part of the aorta. The aneurysm showed presence of turbulent flow in the central part and presence of thrombus in the peripheral part [Figure 2]b, [Figure 2]c, [Figure 2]d, Videos 3 and 4]. The patient was referred for surgery to a cardiothoracic surgery center but was lost to follow-up.
Figure 2: (a) Extrinsic compression with visible bleeding point (b) EUS image of saccular aneurysm communicating with descending aorta (c) EUS image of aneurysm surrounded by thrombus (d) Another EUS image of aneurysm with thrombus

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Case 3

A 68-year-old gentleman was referred for evaluation of dysphagia to solids for 2 days with a bout of hematemesis. EGD revealed an extrinsic compression with a smooth bulge and a linear ulcerated area on the central part of the bulge at 30-cm distance in the middle of the esophagus [Figure 3]a. The scope was easily negotiated beyond the narrowed part of the esophagus and the rest of the examination was normal. EUS revealed a dissecting aneurysm extending from the ascending aorta to the level of the renal arteries [Figure 3]b and [Figure 3]c, Videos 5 and 6]. There was thrombosis in the dissected part of the aorta. Computed tomography (CT) scan also confirmed the findings [Figure 3]d. The patient was referred for surgery to a cardiothoracic surgery center where he expired on the 10th postoperative day due to sepsis.
Figure 3: (a) Linear ulceration on the central bulge in the middle of the esophagus (b) EUS image of dissecting aneurysm at the level of arch (c) EUS image of aneurysm with thrombus (d) CT image of the dissecting aneurysm

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Case 4

A 54-year-old man presented to the emergency department due to hematemesis. He had a history of difficulty in swallowing for 2 days. Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy showed an extrinsic narrowing with a smooth bulge in the middle of the esophagus and presence of a clot over the bulge. The scope could be negotiated with slight difficulty into the stomach and the rest of the examination was normal. EUS showed the presence of dissection limited to the thoracic aorta below the level of arch of the aorta. The dissected part of the lumen showed absence of flow with presence of thrombosis and the patent part showed presence of blood flow in a compressed lumen [Figure 4]a, [Figure 4]b, [Figure 4]c. The patient was referred for surgery to a cardiothoracic surgery center and has remained well for 9 years after surgery.
Figure 4: (a) Aneurysm with a large thrombus in the descending aorta (b) EUS image of thrombosed aneurysm (c) Doppler EUS image of aortic dissecting aneurysm

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  Discussion Top


All the four cases presented with dysphagia due to aortoesophageal fistula with a herald bleed and hematemesis. The classical description of aortoesophageal fistula includes Chiari's Triad of mid-thoracic pain, sentinel or herald arterial hemorrhage, and exsanguination after a symptom-free interval. The fistulous connection between the esophagus and the aorta in the aortoesophageal fistula has been described due to primary or secondary causes. The primary causes are thoracic aortic aneurysm without previous repair, atherosclerosis, infectious disease, carcinoma, foreign bodies, or a complication of prolonged nasogastric tube intubation. The secondary cause is due to surgical repair of thoracic aortic aneurysm.[7],[8] Aneurysms of the aorta can be saccular or fusiform. Saccular aneurysm carries ominous prognosis and fusiform aneurysm includes dissecting aneurysms, which are broadly classified as proximal or ascending aorta (Stanford type A) and distal or descending aorta (Stanford type B).[9],[10] In this series, one patient had saccular aneurysm of the middle part of the thoracic aorta and three patients had fusiform aortic dissection of type B.

A high index of suspicion is required for identifying this entity. The role of transesophageal echocardiography in assessing the thoracic aortic disorders is described by cardiologists and the role of EUS in differentiating mediastinal masses and has been described by gastroenterologists.[5],[11],[12],[13],[14] The role of EUS in the setting of dysphagia with hematemesis, which is a clinical emergency, has been less recognized due to the lack of generalized availability of EUS. This series illustrates the role of simultaneous EUS with EGD in diagnosing this catastrophic condition, thus minimizing the time lag for definitive surgical management.


  Conclusion Top


EGD is currently the investigation of choice for evaluation of dysphagia and hematemesis. EUS is currently available as a diagnostic tool in a large number of centers where EGD is performed. Simultaneous EUS, along with EGD, can be a useful diagnostic tool in cases where an extrinsic compression is found. If EGD shows a bleeding point over the extrinsic compression, the presence of dissection and aortoenteric fistula should be suspected. Simultaneous EUS, along with EGD, should be routinely considered in all cases of dysphagia due to extrinsic compression.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Wang WP, Yan XL, Ni YF, et al. An unusual cause of dysphagia: Thoracic aorta aneurysm. J Thorac Dis 2013;5:E224-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Byard RW. Lethal aorto-oesophageal fistula-characteristic features and aetiology. J Forensic Leg Med 2013;20:164-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Contini S, Corrente V, Nervi G, et al. Dysphagia aortica: A neglected symptom of aortoesophageal fistula. Dig Liver Dis 2006;38:51-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Wilkinson JM, Euinton HA, Smith LF, et al. Diagnostic dilemmas in dysphagia aortica. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 1997;11:222-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Bezante GP, Gnecco G, Ratto E, et al. Role of transesophageal echocardiography in the diagnosis of diseases of the thoracic aorta. Cardiologia 1991;36:217-21.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Costantino TG, Bruno EC, Handly N, et al. Accuracy of emergency medicine ultrasound in the evaluation of abdominal aortic aneurysm. J Emerg Med 2005;29:455-60.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Lin CS, Tung CF, Yeh HZ, et al. Aortoesophageal fistula with a history of graft treatment for thoracic aortic aneurysm. J Chin Med Assoc 2008;71:100-2.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Perheentupa U, Kinnunen I, Kujari H, et al. Acute dysphagia associated with aortic dissection: A case report and review of the literature. Acta Otolaryngol 2010;130:637-40.   Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Taylor BV, Kalman PG. Saccular aortic aneurysms. Ann Vasc Surg 1999;13:555-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Hiratzka LF, Bakris GL, Beckman JA, et al. American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines; American Association for Thoracic Surgery; American College of Radiology; et al. 2010 ACCF/AHA/AATS/ACR/ASA/SCA/SCAI/SIR/STS/SVM guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with Thoracic Aortic Disease: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American College of Radiology, American Stroke Association, Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Interventional Radiology, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and Society for Vascular Medicine. Circulation 2010;121:e266-369.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Mavrogenis G, Hassaini H, Sibille A, et al. Expanding the horizons of endoscopic ultrasound: Diagnosis of non-digestive pathologies. Gastroenterol Rep (Oxf) 2014;2:63-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Faigel DO, Deveney C, Phillips D, et al. Biopsy-negative malignant esophageal stricture: Diagnosis by endoscopic ultrasound. Am J Gastroenterol 1998;93:2257-60.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Muraki S, Inguu A, Baba M, et al. A case report of a pseudoaneurysm of the thoracic aorta (thrombotic closure type) showing like a mediastinal tumor — value of endoscopic ultrasonography in differential diagnosis. Nihon Kyobu Geka Gakkai Zasshi 1996;44:1917-20.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Wildi SM, Fickling WE, Day TA, et al. Endoscopic ultrasonography in the diagnosis and staging of neoplasms of the head and neck. Endoscopy 2004;36:624-30.  Back to cited text no. 14
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


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