Objective: To determine whether there is an association between abnormal primary peristalsis in the esophagus and gastroesophageal reflux (GER) on barium studies. Methods: A computerized search of radiologic reports revealed 151 patients with esophageal dysmotility (characterized by intermittently decreased or absent peristalsis in the esophagus on upper gastrointestinal tract examinations) who fulfilled our study's entry criteria. These 151 patients were stratified into two groups depending on whether this dysmotility was associated with nonperistaltic contractions (NPCs): 92 patients had no NPCs (Dysmotility and No NPCs Group) and 59 had NPCs (Dysmotility and NPCs Group). An age-matched control group of 92 patients with normal motility was also generated from the radiologic reports. The reports were also reviewed for the presence and degree of GER and other complications of GER. The frequency and degree of GER were tabulated for each group, and the data were analyzed using a Pearson chi square test to determine if significant differences were present in the frequency and degree of GER or other findings among the groups. Results: The frequency of GER was significantly higher in patients with abnormal peristalsis and no NPCs than in controls (p = 0.02). When GER was stratified based on the degree of reflux, the frequency of moderate-to-marked GER was significantly higher in patients with abnormal peristalsis and no NPCs than in patients with abnormal peristalsis and NPCs (p = 0.01) or in controls (p = 0.0031). The frequency of reflux esophagitis also was significantly higher in patients with abnormal peristalsis and no NPCs than in controls (p = 0.04). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that patients with esophageal dysmotility characterized by intermittently decreased or absent peristalsis without NPCs have a significantly higher frequency and degree of GER than patients with normal motility. The presence of this specific form of esophageal dysmotility on barium studies therefore should suggest underlying reflux disease.
- Barium radiology
- Esophageal dysmotility
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Gastrointestinal radiology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging