Prospective Evaluation of Esophageal Motor Dysfunction in Down's Syndrome

Zárate, N.; Mearin, F.; Hidalgo, A.; Malagelada, J.-R.
June 2001
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Jun2001, Vol. 96 Issue 6, p1718
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and way of presentation of esophageal motor dysfunction in a nonselected population of subjects with Down's syndrome. METHODS: The study was conducted in 58 Down's syndrome patients and 38 healthy controls. A global symptom score and individual scores for dysphagia for liquids and solids, heartburn, vomiting/regurgitation, and chest pain were obtained. Esophageal function was evaluated initially by scintigraphy using liquid and semisolid bolus. Time-activity curves based on the mean condensed images were used to calculate residual activity at 100 s after swallowing. According to both scintigraphy and clinical evaluation results, participants underwent a radiological and manometric study. RESULTS: The most frequent symptoms in Down's syndrome patients were: dysphagia for liquids (n = 9), dysphagia for solids (n = 10), vomiting/regurgitation (n = 8), and chest pain (n = 2). Liquid and semisolid retention of the tracer was significantly higher in Down's syndrome patients than in controls (p < 0.05). In 15 participants with Down's syndrome, tracer retention was higher than the 95 percentile of controls' retention. No correlation was found between the global or individual symptom score and esophageal retention quantified by scintigraphy. Hypothyroidism was unrelated to esophageal symptoms or retention. Five of the 15 esophagograms performed were abnormal, showing barium retention and/or esophageal dilation. Manometry showed achalasia in two subjects, total body aperistalsis in one, and nonspecific esophageal motor disorder in two. CONCLUSION: Esophageal motor disorders, particularly achalasia, are frequent in individuals with Down's syndrome. Awareness of esophageal dysmotility in this population is important, even though symptoms are not evident, to avoid potential complications.


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