Esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction is often associated with coexistent abnormal esophageal body motility and abnormal bolus transit

Elizabeth Zheng, R. M. Gideon, Joshua Sloan, P. O. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Currently, the diagnosis of esophageal motility disorders is in part based upon a hierarchical algorithm in which abnormalities of the esophagogastric junction (EGJ) is prioritized. An important metric in evaluating the EGJ is the integrated relaxation pressure (IRP). Patients who do not have achalasia but are found to have an elevated IRP are diagnosed with EGJ outflow obstruction. It has been our observation that a subset of these patients also has a second named motility disorder and may also have abnormal bolus transit. The aim of this study is to determine the frequency of abnormal body motility and or abnormal bolus movement in patients with EGJ outflow obstruction. Further, in an effort to evaluate the potential clinical value in measuring bolus transit as a complement to esophageal manometry, specifically in patients with EGJ outflow obstruction, we analyzed the presenting symptoms of these patients. A total of 807 patients with a mean age of 53 years completed esophageal function testing with impedance monitoring and high-resolution manometry between January 2012 and October 2016. There were 74 patients with achalasia who were excluded from the study. Of the remaining 733 patients, 138 (19%) had an elevated IRP and were given a diagnosis of EGJ outflow obstruction. Among these patients, 56 (40%) were diagnosed with an abnormal motility pattern to liquids (ineffective esophageal motility=28, distal esophageal spasm=19, Jackhammer=6), of which 44 (76%) had abnormal bolus transit to liquids, viscous, or both. In contrast, there were 82 patients with EGJ outflow obstruction and normal esophageal motility, of which 33 (40%) had abnormal bolus transit. Patients with preserved esophageal motility and EGJ outflow obstruction were then evaluated. Of the 733 patients, 299 (40%) had intact esophageal motility. Of the 299 patients with normal esophageal motility, 56 patients had an elevated IRP, of which 16 (28%) had abnormal bolus transit. There were 243 (33%) patients with intact esophageal motility and normal IRP. Of these, 56 (23%) patients had abnormal bolus transit. Among patients with abnormal bolus transit, the two most commonly presenting symptoms were dysphagia and heartburn. A substantial percentage of patients with EGJ outflow obstruction have abnormal esophageal body motility and or abnormal bolus transit. The clinical implications of EGJ outflow obstruction need to be further elucidated as current criteria do not allow for the description of other abnormalities in esophageal motility and bolus transit among patients who are given the diagnosis of EGJ outflow obstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Bolus transit
  • EGJ outflow obstruction
  • Esophageal motility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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