A force transducer has been developed to measure peristaltic propulsive force (`pull') in the oesophagus. Utilizing a mercury-in-Silastic strain gauge to which a sphere has been attached, this transducer can be calibrated to measure value for force, work, and power. Variability in force values were found between different peristaltic waves at the same site, between different sites in the same subject, and between different control subjects. Control subjects' patterns did not change when the subjects were studied on separate occasions. Patients complaining of dysphagia, who had normal radiographs and manometric tracings, revealed force values that were significantly different from control values. This device should prove useful in the quantitation of oesophageal muscle function.
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