Determinants of upper esophageal sphincter pressure in dogs

P. Jacob, Peter J Kahrilas*, G. Herzon, B. McLaughlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Chronic experiments were done on six dogs fitted with EMG electrodes on pharyngeal and esophageal musculature. Electromyographic actity of the cricopharyngeus was recorded in awake and sedated animals with and without manometric recordings as well as during esophageal distension. Intraluminal upper esophageal sphincter (UES) pressure had two distinct components; active contraction accompanied by cricopharyngeal EMG activity and passive elasticity that persisted in the absence of EMG activity. Between swallows, the cricopharyngeal EMG activity patterns observed were of either tonic activity, no activity, or phasic activity with inspiratory bursts. The activity level wasmarkedly affected by anesthesia, phonating, whining, panting, level of alertness, or changes in head posture. A brisk UES contraction was elicited in response to passage of the manometric assembly and to intraesophageal balloon distension. Persistent EMG augmentation after stationing of the manometric sensor suggested that intraluminal manometry tends to exaggerate resting sphincter pressure. We conclude taht electrical activity of the cricopharyngeus, and by inference UES pressure, is markedly affected by many variables that are difficult to control during clinical or experimental determinations of UES pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2 22-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


  • Cricopharyngeus
  • Electromyography
  • Manometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology

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