The development of intraluminal esophageal impedance monitoring has improved our ability to detect and measure gastroesophageal reflux without dependence on acid content. This ability to detect previously unrecognized weak or nonacid reflux episodes has had important clinical implications in the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In addition, with the ability to assess bolus transit within the esophageal lumen, impedance monitoring has enhanced the recognition and characterization of esophageal motility disorders in patients with nonobstructive dysphagia. The assessment of the intraluminal movement of gas and liquid has also been proven to be of diagnostic value in conditions such as rumination syndrome and excessive belching. Further, alternative applications of impedance monitoring, such as the measurement of mucosal impedance, have provided novel insights into assessing esophageal mucosal integrity changes as a consequence of inflammatory change. Future applications for esophageal impedance monitoring also hold promise in esophageal conditions other than GERD. However, despite all of the clinical benefits afforded by esophageal impedance monitoring, important clinical and technical shortcomings limit its diagnostic value and must be considered when interpreting study results. Overinterpretation of studies or application of impedance monitoring in patients can have deleterious clinical implications. This review will highlight the clinical benefits and limitations of esophageal impedance monitoring and provide clinical pearls and pitfalls associated with this technology.Am J Gastroenterol advance online publication, 21 June 2016; doi:10.1038/ajg.2016.256.
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