Background/Aims: Efficient transport through the esophago-gastric junction (EGJ) requires synchronized circular and longitudinal muscle contraction of the esophagus including relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). However, there is a scarcity of technology for measuring esophagus movements in the longitudinal (axial) direction. The aim of this study is to develop new analytical tools for dynamic evaluation of the length change and axial movement of the human LES based on the functional luminal imaging probe (FLIP) technology and to present normal signatures for the selected parameters.
Methods: Six healthy volunteers without hiatal hernia were included. Data were analyzed from stepwise LES distensions at 20, 30, and 40 mL bag volumes. The bag pressure and the diameter change were used for motion analysis in the LES. The cyclic bag pressure frequency was used to distinguish dynamic changes of the LES induced by respiration and secondary peristalsis.
Results: Cyclic fluctuations of the LES were evoked by respiration and isovolumetric distension, with phasic changes of bag pressure, diameter, length, and axial movement of the LES narrow zone. Compared to the respiration-induced LES fluctuations, peristaltic contractions increased the contraction pressure amplitude (P＜ 0.001), shortening (P＜ 0.001), axial movement (P＜ 0.001), and diameter change (P＜ 0.01) of the narrow zone. The length of the narrow zone shortened as function of the pressure increase.
Conclusions: FLIP can be used for evaluation of dynamic length changes and axial movement of the human LES. The method may shed light on abnormal longitudinal muscle activity in esophageal disorders.