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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2008 Dec;20(12):1283-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2008.01169.x. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

Oesophageal peristaltic transition zone defects: real but few and far between.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.


This study analysed the association between oesophageal transition zone (TZ) defects [characterized by a delay and/or spatial gap between the terminus of the proximal oesophageal (striated muscle) contraction and the initiation of the distal oesophageal (smooth muscle) contraction] and dysphagia in a large patient cohort. Four hundred consecutive patients (178 with dysphagia) and 75 controls were studied with 36-channel high-resolution manometry (HRM). The resultant pressure topography plots were first analysed for impaired oesophagogastric junction (OGJ) relaxation, distal segment contractile abnormalities, and proximal contractile abnormalities using normal values from the 75 controls. If these aspects of oesophageal motility were deemed normal, the TZ was characterized by length and duration between the proximal and distal contractions using a 20 mmHg isobaric contour to establish the segment boundaries. Patients were then classified according to whether or not they exhibited TZ defects (spatial separation or delay) and the occurrence of unexplained dysphagia. Of the 400 patients, 267 were suitable for TZ analysis and of these 55 had a spatial or temporal TZ measurement exceeding the 95th percentile of the controls (2 cm, 1 s). Exactly 34.6% of the patients (n = 19) with spatial and/or temporal TZ defects had unexplained dysphagia, which was significantly more than seen with normal TZ dimensions (19.8%). Although far less common than distal peristaltic or OGJ abnormailites, TZ defects may be related to dysphagia in a minority of patients (<4% in this series) and should be considered a distinct oesophageal motility disorder.

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