Analysis of Spontaneous Gastroesophageal Reflux and Esophageal Acid Clearance in Patients with Reflux Esophagitis

Wylie J. Dodds*, Peter J. Kahrilas, John Dent, Walter J. Hogan, Mark K. Kern, Ronald C. Arndorfer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To characterize gastroesophageal reflux episodes and esophageal acid clearance in patients with reflux esophagitis, we obtained 12‐hour overnight esophageal pH and manometry recordings in 20 patients with macroscopic reflux esophagitis and in 15 healthy volunteers. Compared to the control subjects, the patients had less pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and higher rates of reflux, acid clearance time, and esophageal acid exposure. However, many patients had normal values for one or more of these variables. Transient LES relaxation accounted for 96% of reflux episodes in control subjects and 60% in patients. The remaining 40% of reflux episodes in patients occurred as stress or free reflux. In the control subjects, only one reflux episode occurred during estimated sleep. Of 22 reflux episodes during estimated sleep in patients, most were associated with low basal LES pressure. During esophageal acid clearance, the major esophageal motor event was swallow‐induced peristalsis rather than secondary peristalsis. We conclude that esophagitis patients have lower LES pressures, more reflux episodes, impaired esophageal acid clearance, and more esophageal exposure to acid than control subjects. Individual patients, however, exhibit heterogeneous abnormalities with respect to these variables. Transient LES relaxation is the major mechanism of gastroesophageal reflux in both patients and healthy subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalNeurogastroenterology & Motility
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of Spontaneous Gastroesophageal Reflux and Esophageal Acid Clearance in Patients with Reflux Esophagitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this