Esophageal Dysfunction Does Not Always Worsen in Systemic Sclerosis

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Using the manometric method, we studied the progression of esophageal involvement in 17 women with a diagnosis of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and compared the results with those obtained for 14 healthy women. The manometric examination of SSc patients was performed twice, with an interval of 9 to 111 months (median, 40 months). All patients had peristaltic contractions in the proximal esophagus. Eight had peristaltic contractions, and 9 had no contraction in the middle and distal esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter pressure and the amplitude of contractions in the esophageal body were lower in SSc patients than in controls. The duration of contractions was the same in SSc patients and controls. The velocity of peristaltic contractions did not differ between patients and controls in the distal esophagus, but was higher in SSc patients in the proximal esophagus. In 16 patients, no difference in lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure, esophageal contraction amplitude, duration, and velocity was observed between the first and second evaluation. In one patient, the distal esophageal contractions changed from peristaltic to completely absent, and the lower esophageal sphincter pressure changed from 20.2 mm Hg to 5.1 mm Hg. The results suggest that the esophageal involvement of SSc patients was not progressive in all cases.

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