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Evaluation of Esophageal Contraction Reserve Using HRM in Symptomatic Esophageal Disease

Penagini, Roberto, MD*,†; Gyawali, C. Prakash, MD, MRCP

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: May/June 2019 - Volume 53 - Issue 5 - p 322–330
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001206

Esophageal high resolution manometry (HRM) is the gold standard for assessment of esophageal motor disorders, but motor responses to the standard 5 mL water swallow protocol may not provide precision in defining minor motor disorders. Provocative maneuvers, particularly multiple rapid swallows (MRS), have been used to assess deglutitive inhibition during the repetitive swallows, and the contractile response following the final swallow of the sequence. The augmentation of esophageal smooth muscle contraction following MRS is termed contraction reserve. This is determined as the ratio between esophageal body contraction vigor (distal contractile integral, DCI) following MRS to the mean DCI after single swallows, which is ≥1 in the presence of contraction reserve. Reliable assessment of contraction reserve requires the performance of 3 MRS maneuvers during HRM. Absence of contraction reserve is associated with a higher likelihood of late postfundoplication dysphagia and may correlate with higher esophageal reflux burden on ambulatory reflux monitoring. Esophageal motor responses to abdominal compression, functional lumen imaging probe (FLIP) balloon distension, and pharmacologic testing (using edrophonium and cisapride) may correlate with contraction reserve. Other provocative tests useful during HRM include rapid drink challenge, solid and viscous swallows, and standardized test meals, which are more useful in evaluation of esophageal outflow obstruction and dysphagia syndromes than in identification of contraction reserve. Provocative maneuvers have been recommended as part of routine HRM protocols, and while useful clinical information can be gleaned from these maneuvers, further research is necessary to determine the precise role of provocative testing in clinical esophagology.

*University of Milan

IRCSS Foundation, Grand Maggiore Hospital, Policlinico, Milan, Italy

Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

C.P.G.: Consulting: Ironwood, Torax, Quintiles; Teaching and speaking: Medtronic, Diversatek. R.P. declares that there is nothing to disclose.

Address correspondence to: C. Prakash Gyawali, MD, MRCP, Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8124, St. Louis, MO 63110 (e-mail:

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