Neurogastroenterology and Motility vol:20 issue:4 pages:291-297
Previous studies have shown that the proximal striated muscle oesophagus is less compliant and more sensitive than the distal smooth muscle oesophagus. Conventional and high resolution manometry described a transition zone between striated and smooth muscle oesophagus. We aimed to evaluate oesophageal tone and sensitivity at the transition zone of oesophagus in healthy volunteers. In 18 subjects (seven men, mean age: 28 years) an oesophageal barostat study was performed. Tone and sensitivity were assessed using stepwise isobaric distensions with the balloon located at transition zone and at distal oesophagus in random order. To study the effect induced on transition zone by a previous distension at the distal oesophagus and vice versa, identical protocol was repeated after 7 days with inverted order. Initial distension of a region is referred to as 'naïf' distension and distension of a region following the distension of the other segment as 'primed' distension. Assessment of three oesophageal symptoms (chest pain, heartburn and 'other') was obtained at the end of every distension step. Compliance was significantly higher in the transition zone than in the distal oesophagus (1.47 +/- 0.14 vs 1.09 +/- 0.09 mL mmHg(-1), P = 0.03) after 'naif' distensions. This difference was not observed during 'primed' distensions. Higher sensitivity at transition zone level was found in 11/18 (61%) subjects compared to 6/18 (33%, P < 0.05) at smooth muscle oesophagus. Chest pain and 'other' symptom were more often induced by distention of the transition zone, whereas heartburn was equally triggered by distension of either region. The transition zone is more complaint and more sensitive than smooth muscle oesophagus.