What is the role of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

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

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is defined by manometry as a zone of elevated intraluminal pressure at the esophagogastric junction. For proper LES function, this junction must be located in the abdomen so that the diaphragmatic crura can assist the action of the LES, thus functioning as an extrinsic sphincter. In addition, the LES must have a normal length and pressure and a normal number of episodes of transient relaxation (relaxation in the absence of swallowing).


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