In April 2011, a conference ‘Advances in clinical investigation of esophageal dysmotility and reflux disease’ was held in Ascona, Switzerland. The conference was organized by members of the High-Resolution Manometry Working Group chaired by Associate Professor Dr. Mark Fox to bring together an international group of physicians and scientists with the aim to:

  • 1
     Introduce the new ‘Chicago Classification Criteria of Esophageal Motility Disorders Defined in High Resolution Esophageal Pressure Topography’.
  • 2
     To present guidelines that incorporate the current state of the art for investigation and management of esophageal motility disorders and gastro-esophageal reflux disease.
  • 3
     To provide practical training to ensure best practice and maximum patient benefit wherever these technologies are applied.

The Ascona meeting was supported by all the leading manufacturers of diagnostic instruments utilized in the assessment of esophageal motility and gastro-esophageal reflux. Industry representatives and engineers attended as observers because the clinical practice of esophagology is inseparable from developments in hardware and software.

The key outcome of the Ascona meeting was the introduction of the ‘Chicago Classification of esophageal motility disorders’, the culmination of a series of meetings of the High-Resolution Manometry Working Group that began in San Diego at Digestive Disease Week 2008. The core content of the classification scheme was approved by the Working Group in Ascona and the lead authors were then charged with drafting the manuscript for publication in this supplement of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. This classification scheme is built on robust experimental data, and provides a clinically relevant hierarchy of diagnosis. It has been endorsed by both the European and American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Societies in addition to many other professional organizations. The authors hope that this unique consensus will not only promote better understanding of esophageal motility disorders amongst clinicians, but also provide a solid foundation for future research. Additionally this supplement provides a collection of focused topic reviews, highlights of the Ascona conference, on specific aspects of esophagology that reference the Chicago Classification and its use in clinical practice.

Thus, on behalf of the members of the High-resolution Manometry Working Group, the Editorial Board of Neurogastroenterology and Motility and finally the professional organizations who have provided their endorsement of the Chicago Classification, we present the proceedings of the Ascona Conference.