The role of high-resolution manometry in the assessment of upper gastrointestinal involvement in systemic sclerosis: a systematic review

  • Wouter Schutyser
  • Ludovic Cruyt
  • Jean-Baptiste Vulsteke
  • Jan L. Lenaerts
  • Ellen De LangheEmail author
Review Article


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) affects the upper gastrointestinal (GI) system in 90% of patients. High-resolution manometry (HRM) assesses esophageal dysmotility, but its role in diagnosis and follow-up remains unclear. The objectives of this systematic review were to investigate the role of HRM in the assessment of SSc-associated upper GI involvement and to evaluate the correlation between HRM abnormalities and clinical characteristics and the effects of therapeutic interventions on HRM findings. Fifteen articles were included. Most (11/15) studies were of very good or good quality. Most studies assessed correlations between esophageal symptoms and esophageal dysmotility. Two studies assessed the effectiveness of buspirone and reported HRM findings. Studies assessing upper GI symptoms using validated questionnaires, such as the University of California Scleroderma Clinical Trial Consortium Gastrointestinal Tract 2.0 or Gastrointestinal Symptoms Severity Index score, found an association between absent contractility on HRM and upper GI symptoms, but even asymptomatic patients often have esophageal body dysmotility on HRM. Esophageal dysmotility positively correlates with the presence of interstitial lung disease on high-resolution computed tomography and reduced diffusion capacity (< 0.8 of predicted value). Trials investigating the effect of buspirone demonstrate both increased lower esophageal sphincter resting pressure and reduced upper GI symptoms. Most studies report on limited patient numbers and retrospective data. Potential bias was minimized using quality appraisal. HRM findings correlate to upper GI symptoms when assessed by validated questionnaires and can detect response to therapy in buspirone trials. Esophageal body dysmotility on HRM positively correlates with the presence of interstitial lung disease.

Key Points

Esophageal body dysmotility on HRM correlates with presence of ILD.

HRM findings seem to correspond to clinical symptom alleviation in interventional trials, but data are still limited.

At present HRM, a procedure with a high negative burden to the patient, offers little to no role in the therapeutic strategy.


CREST Gastrointestinal High-resolution manometry Scleroderma Systemic sclerosis 


Funding information

Jean-Baptiste Vulsteke holds an FWO SB fellowship and has received support from the Fund Joël Hurlet.

Compliance with ethical standards



Supplementary material

10067_2019_4794_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Division of RheumatologyUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Center, Department of Development and RegenerationKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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