Are manometric parameters of the upper esophageal sphincter and pharynx affected by age and gender?
The effects of age and gender on the upper esophageal sphincter's (UES) and pharyngeal manometric parameters were investigated in 84 healthy subjects (45 men, 39 women, mean age = 44 years, range = 18-91). Manometric recordings were performed with solid-state circumferential transducers. Subjects older than 60 years (n = 23) showed a significant lower UES resting pressure. In addition, during water swallows they had a higher UES residual pressure, shorter UES relaxation interval and UES relaxation duration, and a decreased UES relaxation rate. Furthermore, pharyngeal contraction had significant higher amplitude and longer duration in subjects older than 60 years during water swallows. Some of these findings were also observed during cookie and pudding swallows. Women had a higher UES resting pressure and a longer UES relaxation interval than men. The observed changes with increasing age indicate loss of basal tone and decreased compliance of the UES. Increased pharyngeal contraction amplitude and its prolonged duration in the elderly might be compensatory to this. These physiologic effects of age and gender on UES and pharyngeal parameters should be taken into account during analysis of manometric studies.