Relationships between air swallowing, intragastric air, belching and gastro-oesophageal reflux

A. J. Bredenoord, B. L. A. M. Weusten, R. Timmer, L. M. A. Akkermans, A. J. P. M. Smout

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BACKGROUND: With each swallow a certain amount of air is transported to the stomach. The stomach protects itself against excessive distention by swallowed air through belching (gas reflux). The mechanism of belching (transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation) is also one of the mechanisms underlying gastro-oesophageal reflux. AIM: To investigate whether swallowing of air leads to an increase in size of the intragastric air bubble and to gastro-oesophageal reflux. METHODS: Multichannel intraluminal impedance measurement was used to quantify the incidence of swallowing of air in 20 healthy volunteers before and after a meal. Radiography was used to measure the size of the intragastric air bubble. Gastro-oesophageal reflux was assessed by concurrent impedance and pH measurement. RESULTS: The rate of air swallowing was correlated to the size of the intragastric air bubble postprandially and to the rate of gaseous gastro-oesophageal reflux. The number of air swallows and the size of the intragastric air bubble did not correlate with the number of liquid acid and non-acid reflux episodes. CONCLUSIONS: In healthy subjects, air swallowing promotes belching but does not facilitate acid reflux
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-347
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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