AIM: To investigate the functional effects of abnormal esophagogastric (EGJ) measurements in asymptomatic healthy volunteers over eighty years of age. METHODS: Data from 30 young controls (11 M, mean age 37 ± 11 years) and 15 aged subjects (9 M, 85 ± 4 years) were compared for novel metrics of EGJ-function: EGJ-contractile integral (EGJ-CI), "total" EGJ-CI and bolus flow time (BFT). Data were acquired using a 3.2 mm, 25 pressure (1 cm spacing) and 12 impedance segment (2 cm) solid-state catheter (Unisensor and MMS Solar GI system) across the EGJ. Five swallows each of 5 mL liquid (L) and viscous (V) bolus were analyzed. Mean values were compared using Student's t test for normally distributed data or Mann Whitney U-test when non-normally distributed. A P value < 0.05 was considered significant. RESULTS: EGJ-CI at rest was similar for older subjects compared to controls. "Total" EGJ-CI, measured during liquid swallowing, was increased in older individuals when compared to young controls (O 39 ± 7 mmHg.cm vs C 18 ± 3 mmHg.cm; P = 0.006). For both liquid and viscous bolus consistencies, IRP4 was increased (L: 11.9 ± 2.3 mmHg vs 5.9 ± 1.0 mmHg, P = 0.019 and V: 14.3 ± 2.4 mmHg vs 7.3 ± 0.8 mmHg; P = 0.02) and BFT was reduced (L: 1.7 ± 0.3 s vs 3.8 ± 0.2 s and V: 1.9 ± 0.3 s vs 3.8 ± 0.2 s; P < 0.001 for both) in older subjects, when compared to young. A matrix of bolus flow and presence above the EGJ indicated reductions in bolus flow at the EGJ occurred due to both impaired bolus transport through the esophageal body (i.e., the bolus never reached the EGJ) and increased flow resistance at the EGJ (i.e., the bolus retained just above the EGJ). CONCLUSION: Bolus flow through the EGJ is reduced in asymptomatic older individuals. Both ineffective esophageal bolus transport and increased EGJ resistance contribute to impaired bolus flow.
- Esophagogastric junction