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Patterns of gas and liquid reflux during transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation: a study using intraluminal electrical impedance
  1. D Sifrima,
  2. J Silnyb,
  3. R H Hollowayc,
  4. J J Janssensa
  1. aCentre for Gastroenterological Research, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, bHelmoltz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Aachen, Germany, cDepartment of Gastroenterology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
  1. Dr D Sifrim, Faculty of Medicine KU Leuven, Lab G-I Physiopathology, O&N Gasthuisberg, 7th floor, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract

Background Belching has been proposed as a major mechanism underlying acid gastro-oesophageal reflux in normal subjects. However, the presence of oesophageal gas has not been measured directly but only inferred from manometry.

Aims To investigate, using intraluminal electrical impedance, the patterns of gas and liquid reflux during transient lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) relaxations, the main mechanism of acid reflux in normal subjects.

Methods Impedance changes associated with the passage of gas were studied in vitro, and in vivo in cats. Oesophageal manometry, pH, and intraluminal electrical impedance measurements were performed in 11 normal subjects after a meal.

Results Gas reflux caused a sudden increase in impedance that propagated rapidly to the proximal oesophagus whereas liquid reflux induced a retrogressively propagated fall in impedance. Impedance showed gas or liquid reflux during most (102/141) transient LOS relaxations. When acid reflux occurred, impedance showed evidence of intraoesophageal retrograde flow of liquid in the majority (78%) of events. Evidence of gas retroflow was found in almost half (47%) of acid reflux episodes. When present together, however, liquid preceded gas on 44% of occasions. Overall, gas reflux occurred as the initial event in only 25% of acid reflux episodes.

Conclusions These findings suggest that in upright normal subjects, although belching can precipitate acid reflux, most acid reflux occurs as a primary event.

  • belching
  • gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
  • oesophageal manometry
  • intraluminal electrical impedance
  • lower oesophageal sphincter
  • Abbreviations

    LOS
    lower oesophageal sphincter
    TLOSR
    transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation
    cc
    common cavity
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  • Abbreviations

    LOS
    lower oesophageal sphincter
    TLOSR
    transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation
    cc
    common cavity
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