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06-04-2010 | Gastroenterology | Article

HFIUS confirmed as valid technique for studying esophageal motility


Free abstract

MedWire News: High-frequency intraluminal ultrasound (HFIUS) assessment is an effective technique for measuring esophageal muscle wall thickening and predicting esophageal shortening, and longitudinal muscle contraction, show study results.

Prolonged longitudinal muscle contraction or sustained esophageal contraction have been associated with chest pain and heart burn, and esophageal motility disorders and dysphagia have been linked to thicker esophageal muscle layers, explain Daniel Sifrim (Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK) and colleagues.

HFIUS is a new imaging technique for measuring esophageal motility that could be useful for assessment of various esophageal disorders. But it has only been carried out in a few centers to date and the validity of the results have been questioned due to a lack of published in vivo. data.

In this study, Sifrim and team assessed the relationship between thickening of the esophageal wall and esophageal shortening in sedated cats to obtain further information on the in vivo efficacy of this technique.

Simultaneous assessment of esophageal shortening and muscle wall thickness was carried out in six cats under light sedation using fluoroscopic tracking of endoscopically attached clips and HFIUS, respectively.

The researchers stimulated peristalsis by rapid infusion of a 5 ml bolus. They found that the distance between the endoscopic clips was decreased to a maximum of 33%, while at the same time the muscle wall thickness increased to a maximum of 218% above baseline values.

Maximal shortening and wall thickening correlated significantly and occurred simultaneously, the researchers note.

Similarly, mucosal acidification led to simultaneous esophageal shortening and muscle wall thickening by 20% and 40%, respectively.

Sifrim et al conclude: “This in vivo study validates the use of monitoring esophageal muscle wall thickness with HFIUS to assess esophageal shortening and longitudinal muscle contraction.”

They add that their results indicate that “HFIUS is a valid technique to study longitudinal muscle contraction in humans and that HFIUS can be used in clinical investigations in patients with esophageal symptoms.”

The results of the study are published in the journal Gut.

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By Helen Albert