, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 601-610,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Oct 2012

Esophageal intraluminal baseline impedance is associated with severity of acid reflux and epithelial structural abnormalities in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease



The esophageal intraluminal baseline impedance may be used to evaluate the status of mucosa integrity. Esophageal acid exposure decreases the baseline impedance. We aimed to compare baseline impedance in patients with various reflux events and with different acid-related parameters, and investigate the relationships between epithelial histopathologic abnormalities and baseline impedance.


A total of 229 GERD patients and 34 controls underwent 24-h multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH monitoring (MII–pH monitoring), gastroendoscopy, and completed a GERD questionnaire (GerdQ). We quantified epithelial intercellular spaces (ICSs) and expression of tight junction (TJ) proteins by histologic techniques.


Mean baseline values in reflux esophagitis (RE) (1752 ± 1018 Ω) and non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) (2640 ± 1143 Ω) were significantly lower than in controls (3360 ± 1258 Ω; p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively). Among NERD subgroups, mean baselines in the acid reflux group (2510 ± 1239 Ω) and mixed acid/weakly acidic reflux group (2393 ± 1009 Ω) were much lower than in controls (3360 ± 1258 Ω; p = 0.020 and p < 0.001, respectively). The mean baseline in severe RE patients was significantly lower than in mild RE patients (LA-C/D vs. LA-A/B: 970 ± 505 Ω vs. 1921 ± 1024 Ω, p < 0.001). There was a significant negative correlation between baseline value and acid exposure time (AET) (r = −0.41, p < 0.001), and a weak but significant correlation (r = −0.20, p = 0.007) between baseline value and weakly AET. Negative correlations were observed between ICS and the baseline impedance (r = −0.637, p < 0.001) and claudin-1 and the baseline impedance (r = −0.648, p < 0.001).


Patients with dominant acid reflux events and with longer AET have low baseline impedance. Baseline values are correlated with esophageal mucosal histopathologic changes such as dilated ICS and TJ alteration.