• high amplitude oesophageal contractions;
  • hypertrophy;
  • oesophageal muscle remodelling;
  • ultrasound imaging;
  • wall stress

Abstract  Excessive wall stress is a known stimulus for muscle growth. We recently reported a thickened muscularis propria in patients with high amplitude oesophageal contractions (HAEC). The goal of this study was to determine oesophageal wall stress in normal subjects and patients with HAEC. A manometry catheter equipped with a high frequency ultrasound (US) transducer was used to record pressure and US images simultaneously in 10 healthy subjects and 11 patients with HAEC. Recordings were obtained at 2 and 10 cm above the lower oesophageal sphincter during water swallows. The changes in circumferential wall stress during oesophageal contraction in both groups are relatively small because of an increase in the wall thickness-to-radius ratio during contraction. Patients show a greater muscle thickness than normal subjects at rest and at the peak of contraction. The wall stress in patients is elevated at the 2 cm but not at the 10-cm level as compared to normal subjects. Wall strain is not different between the two groups. Increase in wall thickness during oesophageal contraction maintains low wall stress. A greater wall stress in patients with HAEC may be a stimulus for the increased wall thickness.