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Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Sep;2(9):644-653. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(17)30151-6. Epub 2017 Jul 3.

Pharyngeal swallowing and oesophageal motility during a solid meal test: a prospective study in healthy volunteers and patients with major motility disorders.

Author information

1
Clinic of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland.
2
Department of Gastroenterology, Changi General Hospital, Singapore.
3
Department of Urology, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland.
4
Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland.
5
Clinic of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland; Abdominal Center: Gastroenterology, St Claraspital, Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address: dr.mark.fox@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The factors that determine how people eat when they are healthy or have disease have not been defined. We used high resolution manometry (HRM) to assess pharyngeal swallowing and oesophageal motility during ingestion of a solid test meal (STM) in healthy volunteers and patients with motility disorders.

METHODS:

This study was based at University Hospital Zurich (Zürich, Switzerland). Healthy volunteers who responded to an advertisement completed HRM with ten single water swallows (SWS) in recumbent and upright positions followed by a 200 g rice STM in the upright position. Healthy volunteers were stratified for age and sex to ensure a representative population. For comparison, consecutive patients with major motility disorders on SWS and patients with dysphagia but no major motility disorders on SWS (disease controls) were selected from a database that was assembled prospectively; the rice meal data were analysed retrospectively. During STM, pharyngeal swallows were timed and oesophageal contractions were classified as representing normal motility or different types of abnormal motility in accordance with established metrics. Factors that could potentially be associated with eating speed were investigated, including age, sex, body-mass index, and presence of motility disorder. We compared diagnoses based on SWS findings, assessed with the Chicago Classification v3.0, with those based on STM findings, assessed with the Chicago Classification adapted for solids. These studies are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT02407938 and NCT02397616.

FINDINGS:

Between April 2, 2014, and May 13, 2015, 72 healthy volunteers were recruited and underwent HRM. Additionally, we analysed data from 54 consecutive patients with major motility disorders and 53 with dysphagia but no major motility disorders recruited between April 2, 2013, and Dec 18, 2014. We found important variations in oesophageal motility and eating speed during meal ingestion in healthy volunteers and patients. Increased time between swallows was accompanied by more effective oesophageal contractions (in healthy volunteers, 20/389 [5%] effective swallows at <4 s between swallows vs 586/900 [65%] effective swallows at >11 s between swallows, p<0·0001). Obstructive, spastic, or hypercontractile swallows were rare in healthy volunteers (total <1%). Patients with motility disorders ate slower than healthy volunteers (14·95 g [IQR 11-25] per min vs 32·9 g [25-40] per min, p<0·0001) and pathological oesophageal motility were reproduced when patients consumed the STM. In healthy volunteers, eating speed was associated only with frequency of swallows (slope 2·5 g per min per pharyngeal swallow per min [95% CI 1·1-4·0], p=0·0009), whereas in patients with dysphagia, it was correlated with frequency of effective oesophageal contractions (6·4 g per min per effective contraction per min [4·3-8·5], p<0·0001). Diagnostic agreement was good between the HRM with SWS and rice STM (intra-class correlation coefficient r=0·81, 95% CI 0·74-0·87, p<0·0001).

INTERPRETATION:

Our results show normative values for pharyngeal swallowing and oesophageal motility in healthy volunteers. Detailed analysis of HRM data acquired during an STM shows that the rate-limiting factor for intake of solids in health is the frequency of pharyngeal swallowing and not oesophageal contractility. The reverse is true in patients with oesophageal motility disorders, in whom the frequency of effective oesophageal contractions determines eating speed.

FUNDING:

University Hospital Zurich.

Comment in

PMID:
28684261
DOI:
10.1016/S2468-1253(17)30151-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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