Symptom severity related with contraction peaks in patients with jackhammer esophagus

Yinglian Xiao*, Dustin A. Carlson, John E. Pandolfino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Aims Jackhammer esophagus is an uncommon heterogeneous motility disorder associated with a distal contractile integral > 8000 mmHg·sec·cm. The spectrum of abnormality ranges from a relatively normal looking contraction to chaotic repetitive contractions akin to a jackhammer. Although previous studies have shown an uncertain correlation between peristaltic vigor and symptoms, we hypothesize that symptoms may be more severe with repetitive contractions as opposed to an elevated contractile measure. Thus, this study aims to investigate whether symptom severity is related to the contraction pattern in the patients with hypercontractile esophagus. Methods Patients with hypercontractile esophagus were retrospectively identified, their demographic and high-resolution manometry characteristics were collected. Contraction pattern on high-resolution manometry was categorized into single-peak and multiple-peak. Comparison was performed between patients with single-peak and multiple-peak. Results Altogether 35 patients (age range, 45-70 years; female:male, 24:11) were included. Seven patients presented with single-peak hypercontractile swallows, while 28 patients presented with multiple-peak hypercontractile swallows. The patients with multiple-peak showed higher Brief Esophageal Dysphagia Questionnaire scores compared with patients with single-peak. The jackhammer swallows with multiple-peak were associated with higher distal contractile integral values, longer distal latency intervals, and a lower integrated relaxation pressure. Conclusions Repetitive contractions akin to a jackhammer were common amongst patients with hypercontractile esophagus. Patients with the jackhammer pattern also presented with more severe symptoms. Further distinction of hypercontractile esophagus into a jackhammer dominant subtype may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-544
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Deglutition disorders
  • Peristalsis
  • Swallows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Gastroenterology


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