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J Clin Invest. 1973 Jan;52(1):1-13.

Movement of the feline esophagus associated with respiration and peristalsis. An evaluation using tantalum markers.


The outer, lateral esophageal walls in the distal half of the esophagus in each of five cats were labeled with small tantalum wires. About 8 wk later, esophageal motion associated with respiration and peristalsis, induced by injecting barium boli (5 ml each) into the proximal esophagus, was recorded on cine and serial biplane roentgenograms while recording intraluminal esophageal pressures simultaneously by manometry. Esophageal motion was also evaluated without a manometric tube in place. The coordinates for each marker were digitized and a computer was used to plot marker position against time. During respiration, the markers passively made a shallow, 2-10 mm excursion on the longitudinal esophageal axis. This movement was synchronous with thoracic and diaphragmatic movement and changes in intraluminal esophageal pressure. Immediately after the onset of peristalsis, the markers made a pronounced oral movement of 10 mm or more above their mean respiratory position, as if to engulf the bolus. Markers in opposing esophageal walls approximated one another and commenced an aboral movement as the bolus tail, which was essentially co-incident with onset of the manometric pressure complex, passed the marker sites. The markers returned to their respective rest positions essentially coincident with passage of the pressure complex peak and then moved below their respective rest positions. The aboral excursion occurred predominantly after the bolus had emptied into the stomach. The magnitude and duration of oral excursion was significantly greater for the distal than for the more proximal markers; conversely, the magnitude and duration of aboral excursion was greater for the proximal than for the more distal markers. During the peristaltic sequence, the labeled portion of the esophagus shortened from 26 to 46% of its resting length. No evidence of esophageal torque was shown. These findings suggest that both the longitudinal and circular esophageal musculature play an active and important role during peristaltic transport of a bolus through the esophagus.

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