Optimal evaluation of patients with nonobstructive esophageal dysphagia. Manometry, scintigraphy, or videoesophagography?

Dig Dis Sci. 1996 Jul;41(7):1355-68. doi: 10.1007/BF02088560.


The aims of this study were to compare diagnostic accuracy, cost, and patient tolerance of videoesophagography and esophageal transit scintigraphy to esophageal manometry in the evaluation of nonobstructive esophageal dysphagia. Eighty-nine consecutive patients underwent videoesophagography, scintigraphy, and manometry. The sensitivities for diagnosing specific esophageal motility disorders, using esophageal manometry as the standard, were 75% and 68% for videoesophagography and scintigraphy, respectively, with positive predictive accuracies of 96% and 95% for achalasia, 100% and 67% for diffuse esophageal spasm, 100% and 75% for scleroderma, 50% and 67% for isolated LES dysfunction, 57% and 48% for nonspecific esophageal motility disorders, and 70% and 68% for normal esophageal motility. The cost for videoesophagography is less than that for either manometry or scintigraphy. Both videoesophagography and scintigraphy were better tolerated than manometry. It is concluded that videoesophagography and scintigraphy accurately diagnose primary esophageal motility disorders, achalasia, scleroderma, and diffuse esophageal spasm, but are less accurate in distinguishing nonspecific esophageal motility disorders from normal. When considering accuracy, cost, and patient acceptance, these findings suggest that videoesophagography is a useful initial diagnostic study for the evaluation of nonobstructive esophageal dysphagia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Esophageal Achalasia / complications
  • Esophageal Spasm, Diffuse / complications
  • Esophagogastric Junction / physiopathology
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophagus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pressure
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications
  • Sensitivity and Specificity