OBJECTIVES: Although globus sensation is a common symptom, its pathogenesis is poorly defined. The aim of this study was to quantify the timing and magnitude of respiratory variation in upper esophageal sphincter (UES) pressure with high-resolution manometry (HRM) in patients with globus sensation, normal controls, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients without globus sensation. METHODS: HRM recordings spanning from the hypopharynx to the stomach were analyzed in 131 consecutive globus patients with normal (64) and abnormal (67) distal esophageal motility. Resting UES pressure was analyzed up to 5 min before 10 5-ml water swallows. Change in UES pressure, its average magnitude between inspiration and expiration, and nadir UES relaxation pressure in globus patients were compared with those in 68 controls and 46 GERD patients without globus. RESULTS: UES pressure typically increased during inspiration in both controls and patients. Respiration-related change in resting UES pressure was significantly amplified in globus patients (37.3 mm Hg) compared with controls (10.6 mm Hg) and GERD patients (13.0 mm Hg) (P<0.0001). A respiratory change in UES pressure>27 mm Hg was found in >60% of globus patients and <15% of controls and GERD patients without globus. This hyperdynamic UES was not associated with other abnormalities of esophageal motor function. CONCLUSIONS: Hyperdynamic respiratory UES pressure changes were prevalent in patients reporting globus sensation irrespective of their deglutitive UES and distal esophageal motility. Although the etiology of this hyperdynamic UES is unclear, it does appear to be a frequent manometric observation in this patient group and may provide a new focus for further studies into pathogenesis and therapy.
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