BMJ Case Reports 2017; doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-219684
  • Rare disease

A rare cause of acute dysphagia: acute calcific tendonitis of the longus colli muscle

  1. Anton Stolear2
  1. 1Family Medicine, Sacred Heart Hospital, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Sacred Heart Hospital, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hanadi Abou Dargham, hanadi.adf{at}
  • Accepted 13 May 2017
  • Published 27 May 2017


We are presenting a case of a 78-year-old female with multiple comorbidities and history of neck surgery, who presented with acute dysphagia, odynophagia and neck pain that has been progressively getting worse over the course of 2 days, with no recent injury or infection. The patient was afebrile. There were no visible signs of infection on routine oropharyngeal examination. Initial workup was unremarkable except for elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein and creatinine. CT of the cervical spine ruled out any fracture or cervical spine injury but showed an area of calcification, prevertebral oedema and fluid collection inferior to the anterior arch of C1. MRI of the cervical spine also showed prevertebral oedema and fluid collection in the retropharyngeal space from the skull base to the C3 level without abnormal surrounding enhancement that supported the diagnosis of acute calcific tendonitis of the longus colli muscle rather than an infectious process. There was significant improvement of symptoms 48 hours after initiating treatment with systemic steroids. The patient remains asymptomatic 6 months after treatment.


  • Contributors HAD encountered this case while admitting and hospitalising this patient. Upon identifying the case as a potential paper, HAD consulted Dr FB to help research this case. As a joint effort, Dr FB and HAD researched similar cases to distinguish the case, phrased the case clearly and finalised the manuscript to be reviewed. To receive an objective and positive criticism to the authors' work, all authors consulted Drs CS and AS to review the work and provide the authors with sufficient feedback. Drs CS and AS reviewed and proofread the paper and handed it back to FB and HAD with scientific and language feedback.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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