This study assessed the effect of prolonged intraluminal acidification on the motor activity of the entire oesophageal body (under controlled conditions). Intraoesophageal pressures were recorded in 13 endoscopy negative subjects with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in whom saline, HC1 0.1 N, and saline solutions were infused (1.5 ml/min) blindly in the oesophageal body, 6 cm distal to the upper oesophageal sphincter for three consecutive periods of 45 minutes each. These findings were compared with those of a control group. Intraoesophageal acidification caused an increase in the deglutition frequency (p < 0.02), the occurrence of multipeaked waves (p < 0.04) as well as a decrease of the propagating velocity (p < 0.04) of the primary peristaltic contractions. Furthermore, intraoesophageal acidification determined an increase, at all levels of the oesophagus, of the duration (p < 0.04) and, more noticeable in the proximal oesophageal body, of the amplitude (p < 0.02) of primary peristaltic contraction waves. In conclusion prolonged intraoesophageal acidification can considerably affect frequency of deglutition, morphology, and propagating patterns of primary peristaltic contractions. This study shows that these effects are independent from volume distension of the oesophagus and supports the presence of acid sensitive receptors in the oesophageal mucosa.
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