Jackhammer esophagus with and without esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction demonstrates altered neural control resembling type 3 achalasia

Farhan Quader, Aurelio Mauro, Edoardo Savarino, Salvatore Tolone, Nicola de Bortoli, Marianna Franchina, Matteo Ghisa, Krista Edelman, Lokesh K. Jha, Roberto Penagini, C. Prakash Gyawali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Esophageal hypercontractility can manifest with and without esophagogastric junction (EGJ) outflow obstruction. We investigated clinical presentations and motility patterns in patients with esophageal hypercontractile disorders. Methods: Esophageal HRM studies fulfilling Chicago Classification 3.0 criteria for jackhammer esophagus (distal contractile integral, DCI >8000 mmHg.cm.s in ≥ 20% swallows) with (n = 30) and without (n = 83) EGJ obstruction (integrated relaxation pressure, IRP > 15 mm Hg) were retrospectively reviewed from five centers (4 in Europe, 1 in US). Single swallows (SS) and multiple rapid swallows (MRS) were analyzed using HRM software tools (IRP, DCI, distal latency, DL); MRS: SS DCI ratio >1 defined contraction reserve. Comparison groups were achalasia type 3 (n = 72, positive control for abnormal inhibition and EGJ obstruction) and healthy controls (n = 18). Symptoms, HRM metrics, and MRS contraction reserve were analyzed within jackhammer subgroups and comparison groups. Key Results: The esophageal smooth muscle was excessively stimulated at baseline in jackhammer subgroups, with lack of augmentation following MRS identified more often compared with controls (P =.003) and type 3 achalasia (P =.07). Consistently abnormal inhibition was identified in type 3 achalasia (47%), and to a lower extent in jackhammer with obstruction (37%, P =.33), jackhammer esophagus (28%, P =.01), and controls (11%, P <.01 compared with type 3 achalasia). Perceptive symptoms (heartburn, chest pain) were common in jackhammer esophagus (P <.01 compared with type 3 achalasia), while transit symptoms (dysphagia) were more frequent with presence of EGJ obstruction (P ≤.01 compared with jackhammer without obstruction). Conclusions and inferences: The balance of excessive excitation and abnormal inhibition defines clinical and manometric manifestations in esophageal hypercontractile disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13678
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • dysphagia
  • high-resolution manometry
  • hypercontractile disorders
  • jackhammer esophagus
  • multiple rapid swallows
  • type 3 achalasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


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