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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2015 Mar;27(3):431-42. doi: 10.1111/nmo.12513. Epub 2015 Jan 27.

Weak peristalsis with large breaks in chronic cough: association with poor esophageal clearance.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, USA.



Gastroesophageal reflux plays an important role in chronic cough (CC). Whether disturbed esophageal motility contributes to increased esophageal reflux exposure or interferes with swallowed bolus clearance is unclear. This study used high resolution esophageal manometry and impedance (HRIM) together with Chicago Classification, and 24-h impedance pH (MII/pH) to address these questions in patients with CC compared with heartburn (HB).


A retrospective review of 32 patients with CC (mean age 57 [95% CI: 52-62] years) and 32 patients with symptoms of HB (55 [52-62] years) referred for HRIM and MII/pH between September 2012 and September 2013 was undertaken.


Weak peristalsis with large breaks (WPLBs) was observed in 34% of CC patients compared with only 12% of HB patients (p = 0.027). Pathological acid exposure time (AET) was identified in 81% of CC patients with WPLBs compared with 29% without (p = 0.011). Increased AET was associated with prolonged clearance time of refluxed events (p = 0.006) rather than increased number of events. AET correlated with the percentage of peristaltic events with large breaks in CC (ρ = 0.467, p = 0.007). Similar data were obtained for total bolus (acid and non-acid) exposure time. Only one of the CC patients with WPLBs exhibited complete bolus transit (CBT) on swallowing compared with 81% without WPLBs (p < 0.001). Moreover, the percentage of peristaltic events associated with CBT negatively correlated with the percentage of peristaltic events with large breaks (r = -0.653, p < 0.001) in CC.


One-third of CC patients exhibit WPLBs, which directly impacts on clearance of refluxed events and bolus's swallowed. These observations may have important implications for esophageal-bronchial interaction in CC.


24-h impedance/pH; chronic cough; esophageal motility; gastroesophageal reflux; high resolution esophageal manometry

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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