Diaphragmatic breathing for rumination syndrome: Efficacy and mechanisms of action

M. Halland, G. Parthasarathy, A. E. Bharucha, D. A. Katzka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: While high resolution esophageal manometry combined with impedancometry has demonstrated that gastric pressurizations lead to rumination, the contribution of upper esophageal sphincter (UES) and esophagogastric junction (EGJ) function to rumination is unclear. Behavioral therapy with diaphragmatic breathing (DB) can reduce rumination. We aimed to evaluate the pressures in the stomach, EGJ and UES during rumination and the effects of DB augmented with biofeedback therapy. Methods: Sixteen patients with rumination were studied with manometry and impedancometry before and after a meal. The postprandial assessment comprised three periods: before, during, and after DB augmented with biofeedback therapy. Key Results: All patients had postprandial rumination, which was associated (p < 0.001) with increased gastric pressure and reversal of the postprandial gastroesophageal pressure gradient from -4 (-43 to 18) before to 20 (7-79) mmHg during rumination. The EGJ pressure was lower (p < 0.001) during gastric pressurizations that were associated with rumination vs those that were not. The UES also relaxed, almost completely, during rumination. Patients had a median (range) of 5 (2-10) rumination episodes before, 1 (0-2) (p < 0.001) during, and 3 (1-5) after (p < 0.001 vs during) diaphragmatic breathing. During manometry and impedancometry, DB was well-tolerated and learned within 5 min. Diaphragmatic breathing increased EGJ pressure (p < 0.001) and restored a negative gastroesophageal pressure gradient (-20 mmHg [-80 to 7]). Conclusions & Inferences: Diaphragmatic breathing aided with high resolution esophageal manometry is well-tolerated, effective and averts the gastroesophageal pressure disturbance that leads to rumination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-391
Number of pages8
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Biofeedback therapy
  • High resolution esophageal manometry
  • Rumination syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology


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