We measured quantitative esophageal transit, expressed as percentage of esophageal retention, before and after pneumatic dilatation in two patients with achalasia. In the sitting position they ingested a 500 ml liquid meal containing 500 μCi technetium Tc 99m sulfur colloid. Radioactivity counts of the entire esophagus were plotted at five-minute intervals for 30 minutes. In five normal control subjects the esophagus essentially cleared in less than one minute. Both patients with achalasia had definite retention 30 minutes before dilatation and had quantitative improvement after dilatation. Radionuclide scintigraphic esophageal transit probably correlates better than other parameters with the physiologic degree of obstruction in achalasia.
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