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Keywords:

  • children;
  • oesophageal manometry;
  • oesophageal motility

Abstract  High-resolution manometry (HRM) in adults identifies a sequential chain of pressure segments that together form normal oesophageal peristalsis. HRM was performed in 40 neonates, infants/toddlers and children (age 1 day–14 years) to see if a similar segmental pattern could be identified in paediatric subjects. A chain of three pressure segments was found with inter-segmental troughs at 27.4 ± 1.1%, 62.6 ± 1.3% and 94.9 ± 0.8% oesophageal length. The first and second pressure troughs were similarly distributed along the oesophagus across age groups; the third was 7.6–8.9% oesophageal length further from the lower oesophageal sphincter in neonates (P < 0.05 compared with other age groups). There were no significant differences in trough locations between subjects with or without oesophageal disease, controlling for age. Consistent presence of all three segments was less common in neonates, primarily because of fewer swallows demonstrating the first (proximal) and third (distal) segments compared with children. HRM in paediatric patients demonstrates, from neonates to children, the distinctive chain of pressure events that also characterizes oesophageal peristalsis in adults. The segmental character to oesophageal peristalsis should be taken into consideration in manometric investigation of all age groups – for example, in testing pharmacological responses and evaluating clearance mechanisms.