Multiple rapid swallowing: a complementary test during standard oesophageal manometry

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Jul;21(7):718-e41. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2009.01273.x. Epub 2009 Feb 16.


Multiple rapid swallowing (MRS) stimulates neural inhibition resulting in abolition of contractions in the oesophageal body (OB) and complete lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) relaxation which is followed by peristalsis and LOS contraction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the yield of MRS to detect abnormalities in inhibitory or excitatory oesophageal mechanisms in patients with oesophageal symptoms and either normal standard manometry or ineffective oesophageal motility (IOM). MRS (five water swallows, 2 mL, separated by 2-3 s) was evaluated in 23 healthy subjects, 109 symptomatic patients with normal standard sleeve manometry and in 48 patients with IOM. Healthy subjects had complete inhibition of OB motility during MRS and a strong motor response after MRS, i.e. amplitude of OB contractions in the oesophageal body and LOS tone being higher than after single swallows. Almost 70% of patients with oesophageal symptoms and normal manometry had abnormal MRS, mainly consistent on inability to increase amplitude of OB contractions after MRS. Nearly, half of the patients with IOM were able to normalize OB contractions after MRS. MRS is a simple complementary test that can be added to standard oesophageal manometry. Two-thirds of patients with normal manometry show abnormal MRS that could potentially underlie their symptoms. A normal response to MRS in patients with severe IOM might be used to predict response to prokinetic treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / physiopathology
  • Esophagus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry / methods*
  • Middle Aged