Esophageal dysmotility occurs in association with GERD; however, the cause of these motility abnormalities is not known. It is also not clear whether injury results from the presence of acid itself, inflammatory change or fibrosisin the esophageal wall. It is also unclear if reversal of these abnormalities takes place, and if so, to what degree. There are, however, a subset of patients who seem to have improvement with effective medical or surgical therapy, parodoxically, the same patients in whom a fundoplication, particularly a complete wrap, would lead to severe postoperative dysphagia secondary to preoperative dysmotility. What does all this mean for the individual patient? It is likely that most will not have any important change in esophageal motility abnormalities with standard medical or surgical therapy. Fundoplication might be safely performed in patients with minimal motility abnormalities, but those with severe abnormalities should be approached with caution. The conservative approach is to perform a partial fundoplication (Toupet) in those with ineffective motility (>30% low- amplitude or nontransmitted contractions). It is hoped that future investigations will aid in understanding the pathogenesis of these abnormalities and how they can be used more precisely to guide antireflux therapy.
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