Transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation in achalasia: Everything but LOS relaxation

M. A. Kwiatek, J. Post, J. E. Pandolfino, P. J. Kahrilas

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17 Scopus citations


In conducting clinical high-resolution oesophageal pressure topography (HROPT) studies we observed that after subjects sat upright between series of supine and upright test swallows, they frequently had a transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation (TLOSR). When achalasia patients were studied in the same protocol, they exhibited a similar HROPT event leading to the hypothesis that achalasics had incomplete TLOSRs. We reviewed clinical HROPT studies of 94 consecutive non-achalasics and 25 achalasics. Studies were analyzed for a TLOSR-like event during the study and, when observed, that TLOSR-like event was characterized for the degree and duration of distal oesophageal shortening, the degree of LOS relaxation, associated crural diaphragm (CD) inhibition, oesophageal pressurization and upper oesophageal sphincter (UOS) relaxation. About 64/94 (68%) non-achalasics and 15/24 (63%) of achalasics had a pressure topography event after the posture change characterized by a prolonged period of distal oesophageal shortening and/or LOS relaxation. Events among the non-achalasics and achalasics were similar in terms of magnitude and duration of shortening and all were associated with CD inhibition. Similar proportions had associated non-deglutitive UOS relaxations. The only consistent differences were the absence of associated LOS relaxation and the absence of HROPT evidence of reflux among the achalasics leading us to conclude that their events were incomplete TLOSRs. Achalasic patients exhibit a selective defect in the TLOSR response suggesting preservation of all sensory, central and efferent aspects of the requisite neural substrate with the notable exception of LOS relaxation, a function of inhibitory (nitrergic) myenteric plexus neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1294-e123
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Achalasia
  • High-resolution manometry
  • Oesophageal shortening
  • Transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


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