Background: Oro-pharyngeal pathophysiology, including upper esophageal sphincter (UES) and pharyngeal disorders, can be assessed by pharyngeal high-resolution manometry impedance (P-HRM-I). We aimed to establish methodology to diagnose disorders utilizing P-HRM-I, hypothesizing that the objective measures could be used to diagnose disordered deglutition evidenced by greater aspiration scores. Methods: Patients (n = 509, 18–91 years) were compared to controls (n = 120, 20–94 years). Variables measuring UES relaxation, UES opening extent, intrabolus pressure, and pharyngeal contractile strength were derived for 10 ml liquid swallows. Three associated pharyngeal pressurization patterns, which may be indicative of obstructed flow, were characterized: pan-pressurization (Type 1), distal compartmentalized pressurization (Type 2), and transient pressurization (Type 3). Deglutitive aspiration was determined from video fluoroscopy. Results: UES relaxation pressure was best able to differentiate patients from controls (T 6.528, p < 0.0001). Patients with abnormal relaxation pressure (>8 mmHg) more frequently exhibited pharyngeal pressurization patterns and had adjunct evidence of reduced luminal distensibility (high intrabolus pressure and/or reduced UES opening). Utilizing this information, a diagnostic scheme was devised identifying 138 patients with UES disorder. A further 96 patients without evidence of UES disorder had abnormally weak pharyngeal pressures, confirming propulsive disorder. Amongst a sub-sample of 320 patients undergoing video fluoroscopy, those with pharyngeal pressurizations and adjunct evidence of reduced UES relaxation and/or distensibility had higher aspiration scores (Chi-square 60.169, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: P-HRM-I can provide evidence for UES disorder based on pharyngeal pressurization patterns and abnormal findings for UES relaxation pressure, UES opening, and intrabolus pressure. Measuring pharyngeal contractility requires further optimization.
- high-resolution manometry
- upper esophageal sphincter