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A biomagnetic diagnostic technique to evaluate esophageal transit time

ETT assessment is used to diagnose diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux, dysphagia, esophagitis, and achalasia. These studies are commonly performed in conjunction with scintigraphic and manometric techniques, despite the use of ionizing radiation and catheters, for each of these additional techniques, respectively. Recently, several types of assessments were performed using the biomagnetic technique, including the assessment of gastric emptying time. These studies are particularly useful because they have the advantage of being non-invasive and do not use ionizing radiation. The results of these studies demonstrate the efficacy of the biomagnetic techniques to assess ETT.

A research article to be published on October 7 , 2008 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Cordova Fraga T and De la Roca-Chiapas JM from Universidad de Guanajuato of Mexico studied the ETT and compared its mean values obtained at three anatomical inclinations of the body. Additionally, they analyzed the correlation of ETT to BMI.

Using this technique, they also demonstrated that ETT is affected by anatomical position, with significant faster rates when subjects adopt a supine position. These results concur with previous reports, including studies in which a biosusceptometer magnetometer was used. In this study, they demonstrated that the ETT is not only affected by natural peristalsis, but also by gravity and thus the subjects' anatomical position. This phenomenon is explained by the physiology of the esophagus, which causes movement with a combination of resistance and contraction.

The use of the biomagnetic technique to assess esophageal transit time is a promising diagnostic technique because it requires only a magnetometer, which is relatively inexpensive. For this reason, this technique could be implemented for the clinical assessment of esophageal disorders in general practice medicine by gastroenterologists to determine the transit times of drugs and in other specialities.

Although this technique has been validated, further studies are needed to compare biomagnetism with the most innovative and sophisticated techniques commonly used for esophageal evaluation in order to identify its sensitivity and reproducibility.


Contact: Lin Tian
World Journal of Gastroenterology

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