Dysphagia as the Sole Manifestation of Bilateral Strokes
Indians, North American
Dysphagia can be caused by a host of factors, most of which are structural or functional. However, despite extensive evaluations, a certain number of patients have unexplained dysphagia. We present an extremely unusual case whereby a patient with an acute left hemispheric cerebral vascular accident presents with dysphagia as his sole complaint and after extensive neurological, gastroenterological, and radiographic examinations is found to have cricopharyngeal dysfunction. The etiology of this defect was not at all clinically apparent and, ultimately, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed which revealed a chronic infarction of the right frontal lobe and a smaller acute infarction in the same location of the left. This case demonstrates that swallowing disorders may be the sole presentation of stroke and that, if extensive evaluations of such patients fail to yield an etiology, one must strongly consider MRI as a tool for diagnosis, even if a CT scan is negative.