UNLABELLED: Multichannel intraluminal impedance (MII) recording allows assessment of flow through the oesophagus and differentiation between liquid and gas contents. Existing MII criteria for recognition of gas gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) have not been validated during known gas GOR in humans.
AIMS: (i) Characterize MII patterns of known gas GOR and optimize criteria. (ii) Clarify interrelationships between magnitude of maximal impedance change, luminal diameter and electrode-mucosa contact. Ten healthy volunteers (six male, 21-37 years) were studied using an oesophageal MII-manometry catheter. After catheter placement, subjects were asked to drink 600 mL of carbonated soft drink. Recordings were made for 20 min and the protocol repeated. Reported belches confirmed manometrically (triggered by transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations) were included for analysis. Those episodes were compared against commonly used criteria. Another five subjects (three male, 26-52 years) underwent simultaneous MII and videofluoroscopy using the same protocol. Videofluoroscopic images were analyzed for luminal diameter and the presence of electrode-mucosa contact. All analyzed gas GOR episodes (n = 88) were associated with a pattern of impedance rise which was either retrograde (62.5%), synchronous (19.3%) or antegrade (18.2%). Depending on the exact criteria used, sensitivity ranged from 33% to 75%. A multivariate regression model including luminal diameter and the presence of electrode-mucosa contact as independent factors accounted for 53% of all variation in impedance changes. In conclusion, a significant number of gas GOR episodes does not meet criteria for their recognition. New criteria are proposed to include specific antegrade patterns of impedance rise. Luminal diameter and the extent of contact between the oesophageal mucosa and MII-electrodes influence the magnitude and patterning of impedance change.