Esophageal motility disorders in the rheumatic diseases: A review of 150 patients

G. Lapadula, P. Muolo, F. Semeraro, M. Covelli, D. Brindicci, G. Cuccorese, A. Francavilla, V. Pipitone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Rheumatic diseases are a group of systemic disorders that may be concurrent with Raynaud's phenomenon and involvement of the internal organs, in particular the esophagus. Esophageal motor abnormalities have been widely described in systemic sclerosis, but have not frequently been reported in other diseases. In the present study we have examined the prevalence and pattern of esophageal motility disorders in different rheumatic diseases. Methods. Esophageal manometry was performed on 150 patients, 21 males and 129 females, suffering from different rheumatic diseases (SSc, RA, SLE, MCTD, undifferentiated CTD, or DM/PM) and on 30 healthy controls. Results. Functional involvement of the esophagus was demonstrated in all the rheumatic diseases considered, although at varying percentages. The frequencies of the functional abnormalities differed when each disease was considered separately. In SSc patients abnormalities were found more frequently in the lower esophageal sphincter (81.8%) and in the esophageal body (84.8%); data for the DM/PM and MCTD patients broadly overlapped. On the contrary, in SLE the lower sphincter appeared to be less (or even not at all) impaired, while the most specific disorder was an isolated abnormal peristalsis. RP did not always correlate with manometric changes in all of the groups studied. Conclusions. Three conclusions derive from our study. i) motor disorders affecting the esophagus were not only found in SSc, but also in all forms of non-lupus CTD; ii) the simultaneous involvement of the esophageal body and the lower esophageal sphincter is discriminant between non-lupus CTD and SLE; and iii) RP may be regarded as a condition pathogenetically unrelated to manometrically detected esophageal motor abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-521
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • esophageal functional abnormalities
  • esophageal manometry
  • esophageal radiographic examination
  • rheumatic diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Rheumatology


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