Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 35, Issue 7, pp 857–864 | Cite as

Comparison of effects of upright versus supine body position and liquid versus solid bolus on esophageal pressures in normal humans

  • Victor W. Sears
  • June A. Castell
  • Donald O. Castell
Original Articles


New studies monitoring ambulatory esophageal pressures during food ingestion often compare results to normal values obtained from supine liquid swallows. We compared distal esophageal peristaltic and lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressures in 15 normal subjects during six liquid swallows in the upright and supine positions, and six solid (small marshmallow) swallows in upright position. LES pressures were significantly ( P <0.05) higher supine than upright but no differences were noted in LES pressure, relaxation, and duration of relaxation between upright solid and liquid swallows. Distal peristaltic wave velocities were faster upright than supine. Peristaltic wave amplitudes, durations, and DP/DT were significantly (P <0.05) greater in supine than in upright position. Atypical wave forms, defined as nontransmitted, simultaneous, and simultaneous/repetitive, increased in the upright position compared to supine (P <0.01), and during solid vs liquid swallows (P <0.05). These results indicate that body position substantially affects normal distal esophageal peristalsis and LES pressure and that “abnormal” wave forms occur more frequently during swallowing solids than liquids in the upright position. Conclusions regarding “abnormal” motility over prolonged periods and during food ingestion in patients should be tempered by these findings.

Key words

esophageal motility upright swallows liquid swallows solid swallows abnormal peristalsis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor W. Sears
    • 1
    • 2
  • June A. Castell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Donald O. Castell
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Gastroenterology Section, Department of MedicineBowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest UniversityWinston-Salem
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyJefferson Medical CollegePhiladelphia

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