Digestive diseases and sciences vol:45 issue:7 pages:1293-300
In patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs) are more frequently accompanied by acid reflux than in normals. The role of esophageal tone during gastroesophageal reflux events is unknown. We studied the tonic motor activity in the body of the esophagus during TLESRs with and without acid reflux in 11 patients with erosive esophagitis and compared the results with those previously obtained in healthy subjects. Esophageal peristaltic contractions were recorded 13, 8, and 3 cm above a sleeve that measured LES pressure. An intraluminal balloon was inflated 8 cm above the sleeve to induce an esophageal tonic contraction [artificial high pressure zone (HPZ)]. The percentage of TLESRs with acid reflux was significantly higher in patients with esophagitis than in healthy controls (58.3% vs 37.3%, P < 0.05). TLESRs per se were not associated with an inhibition or increase in esophageal body contractility, which, however, changed substantially immediately after reflux. In patients with esophagitis the esophageal body tonic contractility was inhibited in 59.5% of TLESRs vs 36% in controls (P < 0.05). Esophageal contractions during TLESRs traveled down the esophagus in 77% of the instances in patients vs 96.5% in controls (P < 0.05). In conclusion, gastroesophageal reflux during TLESRs was more frequently associated with inhibition of esophageal body tonic contractility in patients with esophagitis than in normals. The different response of the esophageal body to reflux observed in GERD patients may partially contribute to the higher prevalence of reflux during TLESRs in these patients.