OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to characterize the psychometric profiles of symptomatic patients with abnormal esophageal motility and symptomatic patients with normal manometric findings compared to asymptomatic controls. METHODS: A total of 113 patients with abnormal esophageal motility (7 achalasia, 8 diffuse esophageal spasm, 27 nutcracker esophagus, 37 hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter, 21 hypotensive peristalsis, 13 failed peristalsis), 23 symptomatic controls with similar esophageal symptoms but normal manometry, and 27 asymptomatic controls were enrolled. Validated questionnaires assessing depression (Beck Depression Inventory), anxiety (Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory or Trait Anxiety Inventory), and somatization (Psychosomatic Symptom Checklist) were administered to all subjects. RESULTS: Patients with both esophageal symptoms and either hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter, nutcracker esophagus, or hypotensive contractions exhibited increased somatization, acute anxiety, or depression compared to asymptomatic controls but not compared to symptomatic controls. On the other hand, the psychometric profiles of patients with achalasia and diffuse esophageal spasm were strikingly normal. Among esophageal symptoms, chest pain was closely correlated with psychometric abnormalities. CONCLUSIONS: The esophageal symptoms of patients with abnormal esophageal motility may relate to the underlying psychological abnormalities, independent of manometric abnormalities.
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