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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2010, Article ID 159630, 4 pages
Clinical Study

The Natural History of Globus Pharyngeus

1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,Harvard Medical School, Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2Department of Otolaryngology, Waterford Regional Hospital, Waterford, Ireland

Received 3 November 2010; Accepted 9 December 2010

Academic Editor: Charles Monroe Myer

Copyright © 2010 E. C. Cashman and M. J. Donnelly. 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.


Globus pharyngeus is a common disorder and accounts for 5% of all ENT referrals. Objectives. To evaluate the role of barium swallow and endoscopy in these patients, to ascertain the incidence, if any, of aerodigestive tract malignancy in this group and to assess the natural evolution of globus pharyngeus. Materials and Methods. Seventy-nine patients underwent barium swallow and rigid oesophagoscopy for globus pharyngeus between January 2005 and October 2008. Fifty-five patients were contacted by phone on average 5 years and 3 months after intervention and asked if their symptoms still persisted. Twenty-four patients were uncontactable or lost to followup, three patients were deceased, two of cardiac related disease and one of renal failure. Results. The majority of patients, 36 of 55 (65%), had a normal barium swallow. Forty-five of 55 (82%) of patients had normal rigid endoscopies. Thirty-one of 55 (56%) patients were at an average followup time of 5 years and 3 months. No patient developed a malignant lesion. Conclusion. Globus pharyngeus is a relatively common but benign condition of indeterminate origin. Our study demonstrates that many of these patients spontaneously improve with time.