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This article is the author’s final published version in Journal of Clinical Medicine, Volume 11, Issue 22, November 2022, Article number 6665.

The published version is available at Copyright © Mendoza et al.


Oropharyngeal and esophageal dysmotility can cause serious clinical complications such as aspiration pneumonia, cachexia, and sarcopenia, with a resulting increase in mortality and disability. The current standard of care for the treatment of SSc-associated swallowing dysfunction is mainly supportive, although severe cases are usually refractory to conventional management. Recent studies have shown that the abnormal production of functional autoantibodies such as anti-cholinergic muscarinic receptor III antibodies may participate in the pathogenesis of SSc-associated gastrointestinal dysmotility and may provide a novel target for therapeutic intervention. We describe two patients with severe and rapid onset of SSc-associated severe swallowing dysfunction and esophageal dysmotility who had failed standard of care therapy, requiring complete enteral and parenteral nutrition. Both patients were positive for the presence of circulating antimuscarinic III receptor antibodies. They were treated with IVIG at a dose of 2 g/Kg/month divided in two consecutive days, for six months. Following IVIG therapy, both patients markedly improved their symptoms as shown by a reduction in their UCLA2.0 score, and achieved an improvement of esophageal motility documented radiologically. Both patients resumed oral feeding and had their feeding tubes removed within the treatment period. None of the patients developed severe adverse events attributable to IVIG, except for low-grade fever during IVIG infusion in one of the cases. These results provide support for the role of functional autoantibodies in the development of SSc-associated gastrointestinal dysfunction.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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