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Pharyngeal Dysphagia in Alcoholic Myopathy

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Mark H. Mellow, M.D.; Veterans Administration Medical Center (151W); 50 Irving Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20422.

Veterans Administration Medical Center and The Georgetown University School of Medicine; Washington, D.C.

Ann Intern Med. 1981;95(2):189-191. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-95-2-189
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This excerpt has been provided in the absence of an abstract.

Alcohol exerts a direct toxic effect on striated muscle (1, 2). In chronic alcoholism, a myopathy may develop with varied clinical expression, ranging from asymptomatic serum enzyme elevations to acute rhabdomyolysis (3). Muscle weakness need not be limited to the extremities, and facial muscles are occasionally affected (3). We report a case of dysphagia caused by weakness in the skeletal muscle of the pharynx and proximal esophagus, accompanying alcoholic myopathy.

A 62-year-old black man, hospitalized in November 1979, presented with increasing dysphagia and weakness in the extremities starting 3 weeks before. He had been consuming ½ to 1 pint of


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