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Primary peristalsis is the major acid clearance mechanism in reflux patients.
  1. A Anggiansah,
  2. G Taylor,
  3. N Bright,
  4. J Wang,
  5. W A Owen,
  6. T Rokkas,
  7. A R Jones,
  8. W J Owen
  1. Department of Surgery, Guy's Hospital, London.


    This study examined the clearance of gastric acid from the oesophagus in ambulant patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux. Eighteen patients with proved reflux disease were studied, nine with (group 1) and nine without (group 2) endoscopic oesophagitis. Oesophageal pressure and pH were recorded over 24 hours. Pressures were measured by a probe with five sensors: a 5 cm long sensor in the lower oesophageal sphincter, three sensors in the body of the oesophagus, and one at the pharynx to detect swallowing. Oesophageal pH was monitored 5 cm above the lower oesophageal sphincter. Manometric activities were classified as either peristaltic or ineffective. The latter included simultaneous, non-transmitted, and low amplitude peristaltic contractions. A reflux episode was defined as starting when pH fell to less than 4 and ending when the pH rose to 5. When the rise to pH 5 took place in three or more discrete steps after motor responses to gastro-oesophageal reflux, the pH steps were labelled as initial change (I), middle changes (M), and last change (L). A total of 595 episodes of gastro-oesophageal reflux and 1626 associated motor events were analysed. Of these, 1331 (81.9%) were classed as primary peristaltic activity, 174 (10.7%) as primary ineffective activity, 46 (2.8%) as secondary peristaltic activity, and 75 (4.6%) as secondary ineffective activity. There were no significant differences in initial change (p > 0.05), middle changes (p > 0.05), and last change (p > 0.05) between group 1 and group 2. In all patients, the successive changes of pH in response to motor activity were significantly different (p = 0.0001) between initial, middle, and last changes. Last change was significantly higher when compared with initial (p=0.001) and middle changes (p<0.001). Primary oesophageal peristalsis was the most frequent motor response to gastro-oesophageal reflux. The last motor activity during reflux showed the greatest change in pH.

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