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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7659273, 13 pages
Review Article

The Videofluorographic Swallowing Study in Rheumatologic Diseases: A Comprehensive Review

1Section of Radiology-Di.Bi.Med., University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
2Unit of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Medical, Surgical, Neurological, Metabolic and Ageing Sciences, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
3Department of Surgical, Oncologic and Stomatologic Diseases, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Federico Midiri

Received 18 November 2016; Accepted 11 April 2017; Published 15 June 2017

Academic Editor: Werner A. Draaisma

Copyright © 2017 Ambra Di Piazza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Autoimmune connective tissue diseases are a heterogeneous group of pathologies that affect about 10% of world population with chronic evolution in 20%–80%. Inflammation in autoimmune diseases may lead to serious damage to other organs including the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal tract involvement in these patients may also due to both a direct action of antibodies against organs and pharmacological therapies. Dysphagia is one of the most important symptom, and it is caused by failure of the swallowing function and may lead to aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, and airway obstruction. The videofluorographic swallowing study is a key diagnostic tool in the detection of swallowing disorders, allowing to make an early diagnosis and to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal and pulmonary complications. This technique helps to identify both functional and structural anomalies of the anatomic chain involved in swallowing function. The aim of this review is to systematically analyze the basis of the pathological involvement of the swallowing function for each rheumatological disease and to show the main features of the videofluorographic study that may be encountered in these patients.