Clinical Trial
Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
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Interaction of lower esophageal sphincter pressure and length of sphincter in the abdomen as determinants of gastroesophageal competence.

This study defines the components of distal esophageal sphincter function which predict gastroesophageal competence and examines the mechanisms by which three antireflux procedures restore competence to the cardia. In a prospective study, the reflux status of 391 patients was determined by 24 hour pH monitoring. Distal esophageal sphincter pressure and length of sphincter exposed to the positive pressure environment of the abdomen was measured by esophageal infusion manometry. Similar pre- and postoperative studies were performed in 45 patients who were randomized to three equal groups for the Hill, Belsey and Nissen antireflux procedures. Two hundred sixty-seven (68 percent) of the 391 patients had a positive 24 hour pH test. Competence of the cardia was related to pressure in the distal esophageal sphincter, to the length of sphincter in the abdomen and to an interaction between both (all p less than 0.05). Thus, competence of the cardia requires an adequate pressure and length of sphincter in the abdomen. In determining competence, the pressure and length effects are not additive, but have an interacting relationship. Sphincter pressure and abdominal length are independently corrected by surgery. Restoration of competence requires increases in both. The gastric fundic wrap best augments distal esophageal sphincter pressure by application of normal functioning smooth muscle to the lower esophagus. Sphincter dynamics are normal after a wrap as the gastric fundus and distal esophageal sphincter share the functions of synchronous contractions and simultaneous relaxation on deglutition.

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