24-hour esophageal ambulatory manometry in patients with achalasia of the esophagus

Dis Esophagus. 1997 Apr;10(2):121-7. doi: 10.1093/dote/10.2.121.


Absence of the peristaltic contractions in the esophageal body and the failure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) post-deglutitive relaxation are the major motor disturbances in patients with achalasia. These alterations are usually evidenced by means of stationary esophageal manometry, which is able to record changes over a brief period. The aim of this work has been to study the circadian esophageal motor activity of the esophageal body in patients with achalasia, using a non-perfused ambulatory manometry system. Ten patients with untreated esophageal achalasia (dilatation < or = 5 cm) had a 24-hour ambulatory esophageal manometry. The portable recording system consisted of a computerized data logger and a probe with four microtransducers 5 cm apart, the distal one being positioned 5 cm above the LES. A microtransducer, positioned 1 cm below the upper esophageal sphincter, recorded the swallow activity. Contractions frequency (n/min), mean amplitude (mmHg), mean duration of contraction (sec), percentage of contraction > 7 sec, percentage of multipeaked, repetitive and isolated contractions, and percentage of peristaltic and simultaneous sequences were evaluated and analysed during the following periods: meal-time (MT); upright (UP); supine night-time (NT). On the basis of the relationship with swallows the contraction events were classified as post-deglutitive or spontaneous. The data out of a group of 65 normal subjects were used as control. Student's t-test and Wilcoxon's rank-sum test were used for statistical analysis. Peristaltic sequences were detected in all patients, 27.8 +/- 12.6% of the total, and the 19.5 +/- 11.06% of these were complete. Moreover primary peristaltic sequences were present in 33.1 +/- 23.4% of all peristaltic sequences. In contrast to current trends, our results show surprisingly the presence of peristaltic activity in patients with achalasia (27.9% MT; 26.9% UP; 28.1% NT). We believe these results are related both to the use of an ambulatory system, which allows 24-hour monitoring and to the use of microtransducers, which are able to detect motor events with great accuracy. These motor events are usually not detectable by stationary perfused systems.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Esophageal Achalasia / diagnosis*
  • Esophageal Achalasia / physiopathology
  • Esophagogastric Junction / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry / instrumentation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Peristalsis / physiology
  • Postprandial Period / physiology
  • Posture / physiology
  • Transducers, Pressure