CONTEXT: It has been demonstrated that the ageing process affects esophageal motility. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of the age on the proximal esophageal response to wet swallows. METHOD: We measured the proximal esophageal response to swallows of a 5 mL bolus of water in 69 healthy volunteers, 20 of them aged 18-30 years (group I), 27 aged 31-50 years (group II), and 22 aged 51-74 years (group III). We used the manometric method with continuous perfusion. The proximal esophageal contractions were recorded 5 cm from a pharyngeal recording site located 1 cm above the upper esophageal sphincter. The time between the onset of the pharyngeal and of the proximal esophageal recording (pharyngeal-esophageal time) and the amplitude, duration and area under the curve of the proximal esophageal contraction were measured. RESULTS: The pharyngeal-esophageal time was shorter in group I subjects than in group II and III subjects (P<0.05). The duration of proximal esophageal contractions was longer in group I than in groups II and III (P<0.001). There was no differences between groups in the amplitude or area under the curve of contractions. There were no differences between groups II and III for any of the measurements. CONCLUSION: We conclude that the age may affects the response of the proximal esophagus to wet swallows.
Aging; Esophagus; Deglutition; Muscle contraction