Study Title:

Transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation in morbid obesity.

Study Abstract

Background: There is strong evidence that morbid obesity is often accompanied by gastroesophageal reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux is caused predominantly by transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs). Only few data are available about TLESRs in patients with stage III obesity (body mass index > 35). The aim of this study was to analyze the frequency and types of TLESRs in patients with morbid obesity in different physiological stages (postprandial: upright and recumband) compared to patients with normal weight gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and diffuse esophagus spasm (DES).

Methods: In order to measure TLESRs in obese patients with and without GERD, three subgroups were prospectively performed: group I consisted of seven healthy controls, group II consisted of seven obese patients, group III consisted of seven non-obese patients with GERD, and in group IV, five patients were recruited with diffuse esophageal spasm. All participants underwent both conventional water-perfused stationary esophagus manometry and a 24-h ambulatory esophagus manometry, 24-h ambulatory pH monitoring, and esophago-gastroscopy. In order to measure the lower esophageal sphincter pressure (LESP) over a prolonged time under physiological conditions, a special solid-state sleeve catheter was used. Additionally, all patients were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire.

Results: Compared to normal subjects, patients with morbid obesity and patients with gastroesophageal reflux show a substantial increase of TLESRs in the postprandial phase. There was a tendency towards more TLESRs per hour in patients with DES than in healthy subjects, but the difference was not statistically significant. The types of TLESRs differed with the LESP. The majority of isolated TLESRs were complete and incomplete. Some of the isolated TLESRs were accompanied by contractions of the tubular esophagus.

Conclusion: Morbid obesity is associated with gastroesophageal reflux. The frequency of TLESRs has significantly increased compared to healthy subjects and does not differ statistically from patients with GERD. Isolated TLESRs are mostly incomplete in patients with a hypotonic LES.

Study Information

Obes Surg. 2009 May;19(5):595-600. doi: 10.1007/s11695-009-9809-7. Epub 2009 Feb 18. PMID: 19224300.

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