Sphincter of Oddi (SO) manometry was conducted in 48 subjects who had previously undergone cholecystectomy. Ten of these subjects had no detectable biliary or pancreatic disease and served as controls. The other 38 patients were presumed to have SO dysfunction and had presented with episodes of severe biliary-type pain with either dilatation of the bile duct on a retrograde cholangiogram, transient changes in liver function tests, or both of these abnormalities. A triple-lumen low-compliance manometric system was used to record the SO basal pressure, SO phasic contraction amplitude, SO wave frequency, direction of wave propagation, and SO response to intravenously administered cholecystokinin-octapeptide 20 ng/kg. Satisfactory manometric recordings were obtained from 32 of 38 patients and of these, 25 patients showed one or more abnormalities when compared with data from the 10 controls. The abnormalities included excess of retrograde contractions (12), high frequency of SO phasic contractions (11), elevation of the SO basal pressure (8), and paradoxical cholecystokinin-octapeptide response (10). The study has demonstrated a spectrum of manometric abnormalities in the SO of patients with suspected SO dysfunction.