Zenker’s Diverticulum in Forestier Disease: Chance or Causality?

Document Type : Original


Department of Biomedicine, Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostic, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.


Zenker's diverticulum is an acquired sac-like outpouching of the mucosa and submucosa layers originating at the pharyngoesophageal junction. The predominant symptom of Zenker’s diverticulum is dysphagia. Videofluoroscopy confirms the diagnosis. Forestier disease is a clinical entity characterized by ossification of anterolateral vertebral ligament and anterior osteophyte formation along the anterolateral spinal column. Its etiopathogenesis remains unknown and common symptoms are dysphagia, dysphonia and airway obstruction. The objective of this study is to identify a pathophysiological correlation between Forestier disease and the onset of Zenker’s diverticulum.
Materials and Methods:
A retrospective observational study was conducted. The electronic database of our Radiology Unit was analyzed in order to identify patients with hypopharyngeal diverticulum and osteophytes at the cervical vertebrae level, from January 2010 to January 2021. The search was performed using precise keywords.
The computerized database search outlined 10 imaging exams: 5 videofluorographies and 5 computed tomography scans. In 100% of the cases, dysphagia was the main symptom that led to the diagnostic assessment; 30% of patients, on the other hand, reported dyspnoea. From the data analysis, the male / female ratio is 1: 1 and the average age of the patients is 64.8 (+/- 11.31) years.
We assume that the anatomical abnormalities in Forestier disease may cause an increase of pharyngeal pressure and consequently support the development of the Zenker’s diverticulum. Hence, it is always recommended to investigate the presence of Zenker’s diverticulum in a patient with Forestier disease, especially for the life-threatening complications of Zenker’s diverticulum.