The hypercontractile esophagus: Still a tough nut to crack

Edoardo Savarino, André J. P. M. Smout

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Hypercontractile esophagus (HE), also known as jackhammer esophagus, is an esophageal motility disorder. Nowadays, high-resolution manometry (HRM) is used to diagnose the disorder. According to the latest iteration of the Chicago classification, HE is present when at least 2 out 10 liquid swallow-induced peristaltic waves have an abnormally high Distal Contractile Integral. In the era of conventional manometry, a similar condition, referred to as nutcracker esophagus, was diagnosed when the peristaltic contractions had an abnormally high mean amplitude. Although the HRM diagnosis of HE is relatively straight-forward, effective management of the disorder is challenging as the correlation with symptoms is variable and treatment effects are dubious. In this mini-review, we discuss the most troublesome uncertainties that still surround HE, in the light of new data on etiology and epidemiology published in this issue of Neurogastroenterology and Motility.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14010
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number11
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • hypercontractile esophagus
  • jackhammer esophagus
  • nutcracker esophagus

Cite this