THE ABILITY to empty refluxed gastric contents protects the esophagus from peptic digestion. Occasional gastroesophageal reflux probably occurs in everyone and has been demonstrated in 40% of asymptomatic, normal volunteers.1 There is evidence that patients symptomatic from reflux have disordered peristalsis resulting in inability to evacuate the esophagus.2-4 The duration of contact between refluxed material and esophageal mucosa would seem to influence the development and severity of esophagitis. A test was devised to determine whether or not the distal esophagus has a measurable ability to clear acid solution and whether or not this ability is altered in the presence of abnormalities.
Materials and Methods
A pH probe (Beckman) and three water-filled polyvinyl tubes (inside diameter, 0.034 inches) were passed through the nares and into the stomach without anesthesia in supine subjects. The tubes were joined so that the open tips were 5 cm apart and the pH probe