In order to characterise human interdigestive cyclical motor activity, and its interruption by food, jejunal pressure changes in healthy volunteers were recorded continuously for 24 hours, using an ingested pressure-sensitive radiotelemetry capsule tethered at the duodenojejunal flexure. In 20 studies, the subjects fasted throughout; in another 20 studies they received a single standard meal. Using this technique, fasting motor complexes were easily detected. There was considerable variation in interdigestive cycle duration and in the interruption caused by food. The data were not normally distributed. The study indicates that any descriptions of 'atypical' jejunal motility patterns must take into account the wide variations seen in health, before they can be regarded as representing dysfunction or disease.
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