Mechanisms of gastro-oesophageal reflux were studied by oesophageal manometry and pH monitoring in 33 children: nine controls, 15 with gastro-oesophageal reflux alone, and nine with reflux oesophagitis. A total of 122 episodes of reflux were analysed in detail: 82 (67%) were synchronous with swallowing and 40 (33%) asynchronous. Infants with trivial symptoms had gastro-oesophageal reflux synchronous with swallowing, whereas those with serious symptoms had slower acid clearance and asynchronous reflux. There were significant differences in lower oesophageal sphincter pressure and amplitude of oesophageal contractions between controls and patients with both gastro-oesophageal reflux and reflux oesophagitis. In reflux oesophagitis there was a decrease in lower oesophageal sphincter pressure and the contractions had a bizarre waveform suggesting a neuropathic process.
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