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Esophageal dysmotility: characterization and pathophysiology

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Published:25th Mar 2020
Esophageal dysmotility is a considerable long-term issue in patients born with esophageal atresia (EA). To better characterize it, the normal esophageal motility is briefly reviewed with emphasis on the specific defects in EA. Multiple studies attempted to describe the dysmotility seen in patients with operated EA using esophageal manometry. Recently, high-resolution manometry has improved our understanding of normal esophageal motility. Using this new technology, it is now possible to better characterize the esophageal motility of patients operated on for EA. Three different patterns are described and presented: aperistalsis, pressurization, and distal peristalsis. Up to now, it has not been possible to find a correlation between the dysmotility severity and the patient's symptomatology. Different pathophysiological hypotheses of esophageal dysmotility in that population are discussed. Developmental neuronal defects are certainly present from the beginning. Surgical trauma can also contribute to the dysmotility. Finally, defective esophageal acid clearance capacity is a cause of gastroesophageal reflux disease, but the resultant esophagitis can also impair the normal esophageal function. The evolution of esophageal dysmotility in patients with repaired EA is not known and further studies will be necessary to clarify it.

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