Distal oesophageal pH was monitored for three hours after a standard meal in 10 young healthy subjects without symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux. Episodes of reflux occurred in nine of these subjects; and, in five, oesophageal pH was less than 5 for between 11 and 75% of the first postprandial hour. Intermittent incompetence of the lower oesophageal sphincter after food must, therefore, be regarded as a normal phenomenon. The method described would be suitable for the evaluation of agents believed to weaken or to strengthen the lower oesophageal sphincter.
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