AIM: To characterize the effects of age on the mechanisms underlying the common condition of esophageal dysphagia in older patients, using detailed manometric analysis. METHODS: A retrospective case-control audit was performed on 19 patients aged ≥ 80 years (mean age 85 ± 0.7 year) who underwent a manometric study for dysphagia (2004-2009). Data were compared with 19 younger dysphagic patients (32 ± 1.7 years). Detailed manometric analysis performed prospectively included basal lower esophageal sphincter pressure (BLESP), pre-swallow and nadir LESP, esophageal body pressures and peristaltic duration, during water swallows (5 mL) in right lateral (RL) and upright (UR) postures and with solids. Data are mean ± SE; a P -value < 0.05 was considered significant. RESULTS: Elderly dysphagic patients had higher BLESP than younger patients (23.4 ± 3.8 vs 14.9 ± 1.2 mmHg; P < 0.05). Pre-swallow LESP was elevated in the elderly in both postures (RL: 1 and 4 s P = 0.019 and P = 0.05; UR: P < 0.05 and P = 0.05) and solids (P < 0.01). In older patients, LES nadir pressure was higher with liquids (RL: 2.3 ± 0.6 mmHg vs 0.7 ± 0.6 mmHg, P < 0.05; UR: 3.5 ± 0.9 mmHg vs 1.6 ± 0.5 mmHg, P = 0.01) with shorter relaxation after solids (7.9 ± 1.5 s vs 9.7 ± 0.4 s, P = 0.05). No age-related differences were seen in esophageal body pressures or peristalsis duration. CONCLUSION: Basal LES pressure is elevated and swallow-induced relaxation impaired in elderly dysphagic patients. Its contribution to dysphagia and the effects of healthy ageing require further investigation.
- Esophageal motility
- Lower esophageal sphincter