This study was conducted to assess esophageal function and pulmonary resistance changes with esophageal acidification in patients with COPD. Twelve patients with COPD and a mean age of 55.6 years were studied. Each patient underwent standard esophageal manometry, 24-h ambulatory pH testing, esophageal acid clearance evaluation during sleep, and an assessment of pulmonary resistance with and without esophageal acid perfusion. Neither airway resistance nor conductance was altered by the esophageal acid infusion; LES pressures were normal and esophageal contractile pressures were mildly decreased. Acid exposure in the upright and supine positions was within normal limits. Acid clearance during sleep was similar to that in normal subjects; however, acid clearance during waking appeared to be somewhat prolonged in the COPD patients. We conclude that patients with COPD do not have a bronchoconstrictive reflex to distal esophageal acidification, and esophageal function in these patients appears to be relatively normal.