Role of Esophageal Motility, Acid Reflux, and of Acid Suppression in Nonobstructive Dysphagia

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The present study was aimed at evaluating, in dysphagic patients, the role of high-resolution manometry (HRM) findings, presence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy on dysphagia perception.


A relevant proportion of patients with nonobstructive dysphagia present normal esophageal HRM findings. Patients with GERD often complain of dysphagia and factors, such as hypersensitivity, might be involved in its occurrence.


In total, 37 nonerosive reflux disease (NERD) patients with only dysphagia (group 1) and 52 patients with both dysphagia and typical GERD symptoms (group 2) were evaluated with symptom scores, HRM combined with impedance and 24 hours impedance-pH monitoring. In total, 44 NERD patients, not presenting dysphagia, underwent the same protocol. A total of 22/37 group 1 patients [11 with pathologic acid exposure time (AET)] were treated with esomeprazole 40 mg oid for 4 weeks and were reassessed during the last week of therapy.


A total of 15/37 group 1 patients (40%), 27/52 group 2 patients (52%), and 19/44 (43%) NERD patients presented pathologic AET [P=not significant (NS)]. Group 1 patients with a pathologic AET showed a significantly lower mean distal contractile integral (DCI) and a significant correlation (ρ=−0.71) between individual DCI and total bolus transit time values. During PPI therapy, in group 1 patients with pathologic AET, the mean dysphagia score value decreased significantly [7.5 (range, 3 to 9) before, 4 (range, 2 to 6) during PPI; P<0.01)] and mean DCI value increased significantly.


In total, 40% of dysphagic patients show a pathologic AET and reduced peristaltic vigor. In these patients, an adequate PPI therapy significantly decreases dysphagia frequency and severity and improves the esophageal peristaltic force.

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