OBJECTIVES: To compare esophageal motility and gastroesophageal reflux characteristics in young, middle‐aged, and older healthy volunteers. DESIGN: Comparison of conventional esophageal manometry and scintigraphic study of gastroesophageal reflux in volunteers aged 20 to 30 years, 50 to 60 years, and 70 to 80 years. SETTING: Gastroenterology and nuclear medicine laboratories of a tertiary care university hospital. PARTICIPANTS: Forty healthy adult volunteers recruited from the community, 20 aged 20 to 30 years, 10 aged 50 to 60 years, and 10 aged from 70 to 80 years. MEASUREMENTS: Each volunteer underwent conventional esophageal manometry and scintigraphic study of gastroesophageal reflux. Contractile wave amplitude, duration, velocity, and lower esophageal sphincter relaxation duration, as well as the presence of abnormal peristalsis, were correlated with the proportion of volunteers with gastroesophageal reflux and the number and duration of gastroesophageal reflux episodes. RESULTS: Quantitative manometric parameters showed no correlation with gastroesophageal reflux patterns. Abnormal peristalsis was found more frequently in the older volunteers. The number of gastroesophageal reflux episodes per volunteer was similar in the three age groups, but the duration of gastroesophageal reflux episodes was longer in the older volunteers. CONCLUSION: Healthy older persons have impaired clearance of refluxed materials associated with a high incidence of defective esophageal peristalsis. This may explain the higher severity of reflux esophagitis in older people.
Journal of American Geriatrics Society – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1998
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