In ineffective esophageal motility, failed swallows are more functionally relevant than weak swallows

A. Jain, J. R. Baker, J. W. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Esophageal pressure topography (EPT) diagnosis of ineffective esophageal motility (IEM) can be non-specific with unclear clinical significance. Aims: To determine whether peristaltic vigor or lower esophageal sphincter (LES) integrity is associated with poor clearance and acid reflux in IEM. Methods: Bolus clearance on high-resolution impedance manometry (HRIM) and available reflux studies in patients with IEM were retrospectively reviewed. Bolus clearance was assessed using both line tracing and colored contour methods on HRIM. EPT parameters, bolus clearance, and acid reflux variables were explored. Key Results: Eighty-eight patients with IEM were included. Bolus clearance occurred in 71% of all swallows, and 55.7% of patients had complete bolus transit (CBT, bolus clearance in ≥80% of swallows). Bolus clearance was impaired in swallows with distal contractile integral (DCI) <100 mmHg•cm•s compared to DCI 100-450 (0.43 vs 0.79, P <.0001). A cutoff at DCI 100 mmHg•cm•s was associated with clearance with an accuracy of 76% compared to 49% at DCI 450 (P =.0001 for both). A median DCI <100 was associated with a higher Eckardt score (9 vs 3, P =.03), and on reflux testing available in 47 patients, with abnormal acid exposure time (P =.002). Peristaltic reserve (PR) defined as (DCI of multiple rapid swallow/median DCI of wet swallows), integrated relaxation pressure, and resting lower esophageal sphincter pressure were not associated with clearance or acid exposure. Conclusions & Inferences: Failed peristalsis, as defined by DCI <100 mmHg•cm•s, is associated with impaired bolus clearance and more severe dysphagia in IEM, and likely abnormal acid exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13297
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • GERD
  • esophagus
  • impedance
  • manometry
  • motility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology

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