A study was conducted on pigs to evaluate the importance of gastric emptying rate in reflux esophagitis development. Gastric emptying was previously measured in 25 pigs. Then, the following operative procedures were carried out: Heller's cardiomyotomy, common bile duct ligature, cholecysto-gastric anastomosis, and extramucosal duodenal myotomy on 10 animals (group A); the same procedures except extramucosal duodenal myotomy on another 10 animals (group B); common bile duct ligature and cholecysto-gastric anastomosis on the last 5 animals (group C). Six months later, gastric emptying was measured again; whereas in group A a significant shortening of gastric emptying was found, the other 2 groups remained unchanged. Then, all the animals were sacrificed and the lower third of the esophagus was removed for histologic examination. In all the pigs undergoing cardiomyotomy (groups A and B) appearance of esophagitis was found. No signs of esophagitis were found in group C. The conclusions reached are (a) cardiomyotomy is in all cases responsible for reflux esophagitis development; (b) extramucosal duodenal myotomy is capable of shortening gastric emptying, but this does not affect reflux esophagitis development.
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