High-resolution manometric characteristics help differentiate types of distal esophageal obstruction in patients with peristalsis


Address for Correspondence
C. Prakash Gyawali, MD, Gastroenterology Division, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8124, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Tel: +314 454 8201; fax: +314 454 5107; e-mail: cprakash@wustl.edu


Background  High-resolution manometry (HRM) can identify obstructive motor features at the esophagogastric junction and abnormalities in esophageal bolus transit. We sought to determine if HRM patterns can differentiate functional from organic mechanical lower esophageal sphincter (LES) obstruction.

Methods  Segmental characteristics of peristalsis were examined using HRM in symptomatic subjects with elevated postdeglutitive residual pressure gradients across the LES (≥5 mmHg). Sixteen consecutive patients with non-achalasic mechanical fixed obstruction were compared with 13 patients with elevated pressure gradients yet no mechanical obstruction and 14 asymptomatic controls. Pressure volumes were determined in mmHg cm s for peristaltic segments defined on HRM Clouse plots using an on-screen pressure volume measurement tool.

Key Results  Residual pressure gradients were similarly elevated in both patient groups. A visually conspicuous and distinctive shift in the proportionate pressure strengths of the second and third peristaltic segments was apparent across groups. Whereas the ratios of peak pressures and pressure volumes between second and third segments approached 1 in controls (0.92, 0.98), pressures shifted to the second segment in mechanical obstruction (peak pressure ratio: 1.2 ± 0.4; pressure volume ratio: 1.8 ± 0.9) and to the third segment in functional obstruction (peak ratio: 0.7 ± 0.2; volume ratio: 0.5 ± 0.2; P < 0.02 for any comparison of either group with controls). A threshold volume ratio of 1.0 correctly segregated 93% of obstruction (P < 0.0001); visual pattern inspection was equally effective.

Conclusions & Inferences  When elevated residual pressure gradients are present in non-achalasic patients, topographic characteristics of peristalsis can differentiate fixed mechanical obstruction from functional obstruction.