Reproducibility patterns of multiple rapid swallows during high resolution esophageal manometry provide insights into esophageal pathophysiology

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2014 May;26(5):646-53. doi: 10.1111/nmo.12310. Epub 2014 Jan 29.


Background: Multiple rapid swallows (MRS) during esophageal high resolution manometry (HRM) assess esophageal neuromuscular integrity by evaluating postdeglutitive inhibition and rebound contraction, but most reports performed only a single MRS sequence. We assessed patterns of MRS reproducibility during clinical HRM in comparison to a normal cohort.

Methods: Consecutive clinical HRM studies were included if two separate MRS sequences (four to six rapid swallows ≤4 s apart) were successfully performed. Chicago Classification diagnoses were identified; contraction wave abnormalities were additionally recorded. MRS-induced inhibition (contraction ≤3 cm during inhibition phase) and rebound contraction was assessed, and findings compared to 18 controls (28.0 ± 0.7 year, 50.0% female). Reproducibility consisted of similar inhibition and contraction responses with both sequences; discordance was segregated into inhibition and contraction phases.

Key results: Multiple rapid swallows were successfully performed in 89.3% patients and all controls; 225 subjects (56.2 ± 0.9 year, 62.7% female) met study inclusion criteria. Multiple rapid swallows were reproducible in 76.9% patients and 94.4% controls (inhibition phase: 88.0% vs 94.4%, contraction phase 86.7% vs 100%, respectively, p = ns). A gradient of reproducibility was noted, highest in well-developed motor disorders (achalasia spectrum, hypermotility disorders, and aperistalsis, 91.7-100%, p = ns compared to controls); and lower in lesser motor disorders (contraction wave abnormalities, esophageal body hypomotility) or normal studies (62.2-70.8%, p < 0.0001 compared to well-developed motor disorders). Inhibition phase was most discordant in contraction wave abnormalities, while contraction phase was most discordant when studies were designated normal.

Conclusions & inferences: Multiple rapid swallows are highly reproducible, especially in well-developed motor disorders, and complement the standard wet swallow manometry protocol.

Keywords: esophageal motor disorders; high resolution manometry; multiple rapid swallows.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Esophagus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results