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Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Jun;96(6):1725-32.

Effect of intragastric volume and osmolality on mechanisms of gastroesophageal reflux in children with gastroesophageal reflux disease.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Naples, Federico II, Italy.



Both transient lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxations (TLESRs) and periods of low/absent LES pressure (LESP) are the main mechanisms of gastroesophageal reflux. These events are believed to be triggered by stimuli from different areas of the upper GI tract. We aimed at investigating the relationship between LESP profile and gastric emptying and distension after meals of different composition in 30 children with gastroesophageal reflux disease (median age 7.0 yr, range 12 months-12 yr).


Recordings of LESP and intraesophageal pH for 1 h fasting and for 2 postprandial h were performed with a perfused sleeve catheter and flexible electrode, respectively; gastric emptying and distension of antral area were simultaneously recorded with real-time ultrasonography. Ten patients had a standard meal (group A), 10 had a high-volume meal (group B), and 10 had a high-volume and osmolality meal (group C).


Postprandial esophageal acid exposure was significantly higher in patients of groups B and C than in patients of group A (p < 0.01); it was also more prolonged in patients of group C than in subjects of group B (p < 0.05). A higher postfeeding rate of reflux episodes caused by TLESRs was detected in patients of groups B and C as compared with patients of group A (p < 0.01). This increase did not statistically differ in patients of groups B and C. Patients of group C exhibited a higher postprandial rate of reflux episodes associated with low/absent tone of the LES as well as a more prolonged gastric emptying time and a higher postfeeding gastric distension as compared with patients of groups A and B (p < 0.01). Finally, a significant correlation was only found between the postprandial rate of reflux events resulting from low/absent LESP and the degree of antral distension in patients of group C (p < 0.01).


Gastroesophageal reflux is worsened by increasing the volume and osmolality of meals through significant changes of LESP. Meals of high volume and meals with high volume and osmolality cause a comparable increase of reflux episodes as a result of TLESRs. However, meals with high volume and osmolality cause the higher degrees of esophageal acid exposure than meals with high volume resulting from a higher rate of reflux episodes associated with low/absent LESP. This finding correlates with a high postfeeding antral distension.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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