Also found in: Medical.
in physiology, periodic contractions and relaxations of the longitudinal muscles of the intestinal wall, characteristic chiefly of the small intestine, as a result of which its sections alternately shorten and lengthen and the chyme is mixed.
Pendular movement is produced by mechanical and chemical stimulation of the wall of the intestine by food and digestive juices. An isolated section of the intestine may be used for observation of the pendular movement. A more advanced method to study pendular movement is by means of X rays or the recording of such movements in animals with chronic fistulas or ansae of the intestine, the ends of which are brought outside and grafted to the skin.