Pressure morphology of the relaxed lower esophageal sphincter: The formation and collapse of the phrenic ampulla

Monika A. Kwiatek, Frédéric Nicodème, John E. Pandolfino, Peter J. Kahrilas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study aimed to apply novel high-resolution manometry with eight-sector radial pressure resolution (3D-HRM technology) to resolve the deglutitive pressure morphology at the esophagogastric junction (EGJ) before, during, and after bolus transit. A hybrid HRM assembly, including a 9-cm-long 3D-HRM array, was used to record EGJ pressure morphology in 15 normal subjects. Concurrent videofluoroscopy was used to relate bolus movement to pressure morphology and EGJ anatomy, aided by an endoclip marking the squamocolumnar junction (SCJ). The contractile deceleration point (CDP) marked the time at which luminal clearance slowed to 1.1 cm/s and the location (4 cm proximal to the elevated SCJ) at which peristalsis terminated. The phrenic ampulla spanned from the CDP to the SCJ. The subsequent radial and axial collapse of the ampulla coincided with the reconstitution of the effaced and elongated lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Following ampullary emptying, the stretched LES (maximum length 4.0 cm) progressively collapsed to its baseline length of 1.9 cm (P<0.001). The phrenic ampulla is a transient structure comprised of the stretched, effaced, and axially displaced LES that serves as a "yield zone" to facilitate bolus transfer to the stomach. During ampullary emptying, the LES circular muscle contracts, and longitudinal muscle shortens while that of the adjacent esophagus reelongates. The likely LES elongation with the formation of the ampulla and shortening to its native length after ampullary emptying suggest that reduction in the resting tone of the longitudinal muscle within the LES segment is a previously unrecognized component of LES relaxation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G389-G396
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Esophageal bolus transit
  • Esophageal manometry
  • Lower esophageal sphincter
  • Peristalsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Hepatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Pressure morphology of the relaxed lower esophageal sphincter: The formation and collapse of the phrenic ampulla'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this