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January 10, 1977

Clinical Tests of Oesophageal Function

JAMA. 1977;237(2):159. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270290059031

Since the first clinical application of intraluminal manometry to the study of esophageal motor function in the 1950s, a variety of other test procedures have been developed for study of the physiology and pathophysiology of the esophagus and its sphincters. For example, the acid perfusion test detects esophageal acid sensitivity, the acid clearance test evaluates the efficiency of esophageal peristalsis in ridding the esophagus of acid material, and several types of acid reflux tests purport to document the frequency and severity of gastroesophageal reflux. From the title of this new book, authored by a distinguished British surgeon, the reader would expect considerable discussion of the rationale, technique, interpretation and significance of these tests. However, I was surprised to find such discussion skimpy. Particularly disappointing was the absence of critical evaluation of these test procedures and an objective appraisal of their actual usefulness in clinical medicine.

Despite its title, this monograph