RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Impaired bolus transit across the esophagogastric junction in postfundoplication dysphagia.

OBJECTIVES: This study assessed the effect of fundoplication on liquid and solid bolus transit across the esophagogastric junction (EGJ) in relation to EGJ dynamics and dysphagia.

METHODS: Twelve patients with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) were studied before and after fundoplication. Concurrent high-resolution EGJ manometry and fluoroscopy were performed whilst swallowing liquid barium and a solid bolus. The EGJ transit time, EGJ opening duration, transit efficacy, and EGJ relaxation were measured. During the test symptoms of dysphagia were scored using a visual analog scale.

RESULTS: The minimal opening aperture at fluoroscopy was located at the manometric EGJ in all subjects. Fundoplication markedly reduced the EGJ opening diameter from 1.0 +/- 0.1 to 0.6 +/- 0.1 cm (p < 0.01) and rendered deglutative EGJ relaxation incomplete. After fundoplication, a higher intrabolus pressure was found (p < 0.05) associated with a reduced axial bolus length (p < 0.001). EGJ transit time increased from 6.9 +/- 0.9 to 9.8 +/- 1.0 s for liquids (p < 0.01) and from 2.8 +/- 0.5 to 5.8 +/- 0.8 s (p < 0.01) for solids after fundoplication. No relation between EGJ transit and dysphagia scores was observed before fundoplication. In contrast, EGJ transit time significantly correlated with dysphagia scores both during liquid (r = 0.84; p < 0.01) and solid (r = 0.69; p < 0.05) bolus transit following fundoplication.

CONCLUSIONS: Fundoplication patients exhibit a restricted hiatal opening and an incomplete deglutative EGJ relaxation. To facilitate EGJ transit despite these altered EGJ dynamics a higher intrabolus pressure is created by augmented bolus compression. Fundoplication increases EGJ transit time, the degree of which is associated with postoperative dysphagia.

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