- INTRODUCTION: Dysphagia is common after Nissen fundoplication but the relationship between dysphagia and bolus transit is poorly defined. This study compared bolus transit of fundoplication patients to normal individuals. METHODS: Twelve fundoplication patients and 20 healthy volunteers rated their ability to swallow eight bolus consistencies from no difficulty (0) to extreme difficulty (3) to compute a dysphagia score (range = 0-24). A 16-lumen manometric assembly was positioned across the esophagogastric junction (EGJ) and subjects were imaged fluoroscopically in a supine posture while swallowing 5 cc liquid barium and a 5-cc marshmallow-like viscoelastic barium bolus. Videofluoroscopic images were analyzed for total esophageal transit time and the fraction of time required to cross the EGJ. Manometric tracings were analyzed for the intrabolus pressure proximal to the EGJ, intragastric pressure, and distal peristaltic amplitude for each bolus. RESULTS: Dysphagia scores for fundoplication patients were significantly higher (7.3 +/- 5.1, range = 1-17) than for normals (0.5 +/- 0.6, range = 0-2). This correlated with longer total transit times for liquids and solids (r = 0.60, P < 0.01) and a greater percentage of transit time attributable to the EGJ transit. Retrograde flow at the EGJ (escape of bolus proximally up the esophagus) and peristaltic dysfunction were more frequent in fundoplication patients. However, no differences existed in manometric parameters between groups. CONCLUSIONS: Fundoplication impairs both liquid and solid esophageal bolus transit. Dysphagia perceived by fundoplication patients correlated with increased transit time, particularly across the EGJ. Combined quantitative evaluation with manometry and fluoroscopy reveals functional defects in fundoplication subjects, which are not evident by either modality alone.