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see digestive systemdigestive system,
in the animal kingdom, a group of organs functioning in digestion and assimilation of food and elimination of wastes. Virtually all animals have a digestive system. In the vertebrates (phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata) the digestive system is very complex.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a wavelike contraction that propels the contents of tubular organs, for example, the intestine, stomach, and ureters, caudally in animals or in a downward direction in man. Peristalsis is the result of many coordinated contractions of the longitudinal and transverse muscles in the walls of a tubular organ. A single peristaltic wave takes the form of a circular constriction around the lumen that moves along the length of the organ. The walls of the organ are always slightly relaxed before the arrival of the constriction, so that the wave appears to push the contents in the direction in which it travels. Peristaltic waves follow each other continuously at a fixed rhythm and rate. In man, for example, the peristaltic rhythm of the stomach is 3 waves/min, with each wave moving at the rate of 0.5 cm/sec; intestinal peristalsis occurs at the rate of 6 waves/min.

Peristalsis is conditioned by the ability of smooth muscles to contract automatically and by the functioning of nerve plexuses in the muscles. The autonomic nervous system and humoral factors regulate peristalsis. Furthermore, the central nervous system, including the cerebral cortex, may participate in the regulation of peristalsis. This was experimentally demonstrated in animals by inducing changes in peristaltic patterns using conditioned reflexes. Observations on humans show that anger and pain inhibit peristalsis, whereas fear sometimes intensifies it; these observations are taken as further evidence that the cortex may have a role in peristaltic control. However, peristalsis is well indicated in isolated parts of the intestine. Medications and the physical and chemical properties of foods also affect peristalsis.


See references under .
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The rhythmic progressive wave of muscular contraction in tubes, such as the intestine, provided with both longitudinal and transverse muscular fibers.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Physiol the succession of waves of involuntary muscular contraction of various bodily tubes, esp of the alimentary tract, where it effects transport of food and waste products
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
These address the issue of impaired peristalsis (Sharma & Jamal, 2013).
[12] The absence of peristalsis and simultaneous contraction of the body of the esophagus are both proven manometric features of achalasia, and these features were found in all the 13 patients.
These phasic spikes in pressure looks like peristalsis instead of detrusor contractions.
In the second phase, the UES contracts and returns to resting state, pushing the bolus into upper esophagus which is followed by initiation of peristalsis shifting the bolus downwards (8,9).
Two previous reports have used HRM to investigate peristaltic movements after esophageal ESD [13, 14], but a pre- and posttreatment comparison was not possible as the study in which the post-ESD peristalsis was evaluated was retrospective.
They showed that decreased bowel peristalsis had the highest sensitivity (100%) among the other variables, but a relatively low specificity (67.4%).
The reduction in intestinal transit maybe due to reduced peristalsis which can be attributed to relaxation of the intestinal smooth muscle [30, 31].
Observation indicators: The surgical indicators such as duration of operation, intraoperative blood loss, time to recovery of postoperative peristalsis and pain score and postoperative complications were observed and recorded accurately.
Peristalsis in duplication cyst: a new diagnostic sonographic finding.
Intestinal viability is commonly assessed by clinical parameter such as peristalsis, vascular pulsations and intestinal color (pink vs blue, black, or gray).
Differences in the Control of Secondary Peristalsis in the Human Esophagus: Influence of the 5-HT4 Receptor versus the TRPV1 Receptor.
Intussusception is the invagination of a bowel loop with its mesenteric fold (intussusceptum) into the lumen of a contiguous portion of bowel (intussuscepiens) as a result of peristalsis. It is a common cause of abdominal pain in the pediatric population that often requires surgical management.