How is the anatomy of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) characterized in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Updated: May 23, 2019
  • Author: Marco G Patti, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

The lower esophageal sphincter—or, more accurately, the distal esophageal high-pressure zone (HPZ)—is the distal most segment of the esophagus (3-5 cm in adults) and can be anywhere from 2-5 cm in length. Maintenance of an adequate intra-abdominal HPZ is crucial in preventing GERD. This HPZ does not correspond to any visible anatomic structure. It is a zone created by a complex architecture of smooth muscle fibers, and it is typically identified during manometry.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!