The mechanisms associated with reflux episodes in ambulant subjects with gastro‐esophageal reflux disease

Paola Iovin, Byron Theron, Sandra Prew, Shyam Menon, Nigel Trudgill

First published: 28 October 2020




The mechanisms associated with gastro‐esophageal reflux (GER) episodes were studied using combined High‐resolution Impedance Manometry (HRIM) and pH monitoring in ambulant subjects with different patterns of GERD.


Sixteen subjects with mild‐moderate esophagitis (Los Angeles (LA) grade A&B) (group A) and 11 subjects with severe esophagitis (LA grade C&D) or Barrett’s esophagus (BE) were studied before and after a meal, resting, while walking, and during standardized exercise, using a HRIM and a pH probe.

Key Results

Post‐prandial acid GER episodes were more common in group B (median 10 range (3‐18) vs A (6.5 (0‐18), p = 0.048). Postprandial acid clearance time was much longer in group B (median 0.71( 0.07‐2.66 min) vs A (0.17 (0.04‐2.44 min), p = 0.02). Transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation (TLESR) was the most frequent mechanism associated with GER episodes in both groups. Post‐prandial TLESRs with GER were more common in group B (median 17 (9‐24) vs A 13.5 (7‐34), p = 0.014), particularly during exercise (B 8 (6‐9) vs A 6 (5‐6.8), p = 0.007). Post‐prandially TLESR with acid reflux increased during exercise in both groups (A rest median 2.4 (0‐6.4) per hour vs exercise 4.7 (0‐17.3), p = 0.005 and B 4 (0.8‐9.6) vs 5.3 (2.7‐13.3) per hour, p = 0.045).

Conclusions and Inferences

TLESR was the most common mechanism associated with reflux episodes in all subjects. Acid reflux episodes were more common in subjects with severe esophagitis or BE and esophageal acid clearance was much slower. Post‐prandial exercise increased TLESR with acid reflux and GERD patients should be encouraged to avoid exercise immediately after a meal.