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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 367639, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Functional Magnetic Resonance in the Evaluation of Oesophageal Motility Disorders

1Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialità Mediche, Policlinico Umberto I, Sapienza Università di Roma, 00161 Roma, Italy
2Dipartimento di Scienze Radiologiche, Oncologiche e Anatomo-Patologiche, Policlinico Umberto I, Sapienza Università di Roma, 00161 Roma, Italy

Received 22 March 2011; Revised 24 June 2011; Accepted 25 June 2011

Academic Editor: R. Fass

Copyright © 2011 Francesco Covotta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been recently proposed for the evaluation of the esophagus. Our aim is to assess the role of fMRI as a technique to assess morphological and functional parameters of the esophagus in patients with esophageal motor disorders and in healthy controls. Subsequently, we assessed the diagnostic efficiency of fMRI in comparison to videofluoroscopic and manometric findings in the investigation of patients with esophageal motor disorders. Considering that fMRI was shown to offer valuable information on bolus transit and on the caliber of the esophagus, variations of these two parameters in the different types of esophageal motor alterations have been assessed. fMRI, compared to manometry and videofluoroscopy, showed that a deranged or absent peristalsis is significantly associated with slower transit time and with increased esophageal diameter. Although further studies are needed, fMRI represents a promising noninvasive technique for the integrated functional and morphological evaluation of esophageal motility disorders.