Biofeedback-guided control of abdominothoracic muscular activity reduces regurgitation episodes in patients with rumination

Elizabeth Barba, Emanuel Burri, Anna Accarino, Carolina Malagelada, Amanda Rodriguez-Urrutia, Alfredo Soldevilla, Juan R. Malagelada, Fernando Azpiroz

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29 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 AGA Institute. Background & Aims: Rumination syndrome is characterized by effortless recurrent regurgitation of recently ingested food into the mouth, with consequent expulsion or re-chewing and swallowing. We investigated whether rumination is under volitional control and can be reversed by behavioral treatment. Methods: We performed a prospective study of 28 patients who fulfilled the Rome criteria for rumination and had no organic disorders on the basis of a thorough evaluation. The diagnosis of rumination was confirmed by intestinal manometry (abdominal compression associated with regurgitation). Patients were trained to modulate abdominothoracic muscle activity under visual control of electromyographic recordings. Recordings were made after challenge meals, before training (baseline), and during 3 treatment sessions. Outcome was measured by questionnaires administered daily for 10 days before training, immediately after training, and at 1,3, and 6 months after training. Results: By the end of the 3 sessions, patients had effectively learned to reduce intercostal activity (by 50% ± 2%; P < .001 vs basal) and anterior wall muscle activity (by 30% ± 6%; P < .001 vs basal). Patients reported 27 ± 1 regurgitation episodes/day at baseline and 8 ± 2 episodes/day immediately after treatment. Regurgitation episodes decreased further to 4 ± 1 episodes at 6months after training. Conclusions: Rumination is produced by an unperceived somatic response to food ingestion that disrupts abdominal accommodation and can be effectively corrected by biofeedback-guided control of abdominothoracic muscular activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-106.e1
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Abdomino-phreno-thoracic coordination
  • Food ingestion
  • Vomiting


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