Normative values and inter-observer agreement for liquid and solid bolus swallows in upright and supine positions as assessed by esophageal high-resolution manometry

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011 Jun;23(6):509-e198. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2011.01682.x. Epub 2011 Feb 22.


Background: High-resolution manometry (HRM) with spatiotemporal representation of pressure data is a recent advance in esophageal measurement. At present, normal values are available for 5mL water swallows in the supine position. This study provides reference values for liquid and solid bolus swallows in the upright seated and supine positions.

Methods: A total of 23 asymptomatic volunteers (11M:12F, age 20-56) underwent HRM (Manoscan 360; Sierra Scientific Instruments) with 5mL water and 1cm3 bread swallows in the upright and supine positions. Normal values for primary parameters associated with effective bolus transport [proximal transition zone length (PTZ, assesses peristaltic coordination], contraction front velocity (CFV), distal contractile index (DCI) and integrated relaxation pressure (IRP)] are presented. For each parameter, median values along with the 5-95th percentile range are reported. Inter-observer agreement between independent observers is reported using the intra-class correlation coefficient.

Key results: A higher proportion of swallows were peristaltic for liquids than solids in both the upright and supine positions (both P<0.05). As workload increases with solid bolus and on moving from the upright to the supine position the esophageal contractile response resulted in a shorter PTZ, a slower CFV, and a more vigorous DCI. Also IRP increased during solid bolus transit (all P<0.01). There was significant agreement between independent observers for HRM parameters.

Conclusions & inferences: Normative values for esophageal function for solids as well as liquids and in the 'physiologic', upright position will optimize the utility of HRM studies. The high level of inter-observer agreement indicates that these can be applied as reference values in clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Esophagus / anatomy & histology
  • Esophagus / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry / instrumentation
  • Manometry / methods*
  • Manometry / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Observer Variation
  • Peristalsis / physiology
  • Posture*
  • Reference Values
  • Young Adult