The purpose of this research was to investigate functional studies by which the hiatal hernia (HH) may be relevant to a reflux esophagitis (RE). Group I consisted of healthy controls who were endoscopically normal (n = 21). Group II consisted of patients with hiatal hernia but no reflux esophagitis (n = 8). Group III had patients with hiatal hernia with reflux esophagitis (n = 9). Group IV had patients with reflux esophagitis but no hiatal hernia (n = 16). Esophageal manometry, ambulatory 24 hour intraesophageal pH monitoring, acid clearance test, and gastric emptying scan were performed in each of the patients. The contraction amplitude at 3 cm above the lower esophageal sphincter did not differ significantly among the four groups, but the mean lower esophageal sphincter pressure was significantly decreased in group II. The DeMeester score in ambulatory 24 hour intraesophageal pH monitoring was significantly higher in group III compared with the controls. No significant difference among the groups was found with respect to acid clearance. Total and proximal gastric emptying times (T1/2) were significantly delayed in group III. We found that hiatal hernia combined with delayed gastric emptying may bear a relationship to the multifactorial origins of reflux esophagitis, and we suggest a rationale for using prokinetic agents as the therapeutic regimen in patients with HH complicated by RE.
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