Imperfect high-resolution manometry studies: Prevalence and predictive factors

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Background: Imperfect high-resolution manometry (HRM) studies can impact clinical management of patients with esophageal symptoms. Methods: Esophageal high-resolution manometry (HRM) studies attempted and/or performed by trained motility operators at a tertiary care center over a 2-year period were identified. When studies were attempted but not completed, reasons for an imperfect study (critically imperfect = LES not adequately traversed; non-critically imperfect = diaphragm not traversed), and point of identification (identified by motility nurse vs. identified on physician review) were recorded. Prevalence and clinical predictors of critically and non-critically imperfect studies were determined. Key Results: Of 962 HRM studies attempted in 951 patients, 33 (3.4%) were critically imperfect (17 curled catheters), and 125 (13.0%) were non-critically imperfect. A third of critically imperfect studies, and 64.7% of curled catheters had achalasia, while 99.2% of non-critically imperfect studies had large hiatus hernias. Motility nurses detected 90.9% of critically imperfect and 55.8% of non-critically imperfect studies in real-time (p < 0.001). Achalasia independently predicted curled catheters; large hiatus hernias predicted non-critically imperfect studies (p < 0.001 for each). Compared to technically perfect studies, catheter curling was encountered more often in older patients, catheter intolerance in younger patients, and non-critically imperfect studies in females (p < 0.001 for each). No critical motor disorder was identified in intolerant patients. Conclusions and Inferences: Achalasia should be suspected when a curled catheter is encountered especially in older patients, while intolerant patients do not have critical motor disorders. Critically imperfect HRM studies are rare when performed by trained motility operators, which are identified in real time and aborted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14273
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • achalasia
  • hiatus hernia
  • high-resolution manometry


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