Recent years have seen dramatic developments in the clinical investigation of digestive function. In April 2015, a world class faculty met in Ascona to review progress in the clinical measurement of gastrointestinal function including high resolution esophageal manometry, multiple intra-luminal impedance and advanced tests of anorectal function.

The International Working Group for Gastrointestinal Motility and Function was formed as an umbrella organization for academics and clinicians with an active interest in the clinical application of these technologies. Four working groups are involved:

(i) Pharyngeal and esophageal motility disorders (Steering Committee: Peter Kahrilas, John Pandolfino, Nathalie Rommel, Taher Omari)

(ii) Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (Steering Committee: Sabine Roman, Prakash Gyawali, Arjan Bredenoord, Edoardo Savarino)

(iii) Gastric and Digestive Function (Steering Committee: Jutta Keller)

(iv) Disorders of anorectal function (Emma Carrington, Henriette Heinrich, Mark Scott, Charlie Knowles, Donato Altomare, Satish Rao)

The Ascona meeting marked the start of a process timetabled to last three years that will review of the best evidence concerning the diagnosis and management of patients with gastrointestinal symptoms not explained by endoscopy or imaging, agree standard operating procedures for the application of advanced technologies used in clinical physiological measurement and establish new classification systems for disorders of gastrointestinal motility and function.

If you could not make it to Ascona, then the content can be viewed on-line and, in due course, classification systems and guidelines will be disseminated by faculty at upcoming meetings.

Throughout the focus of the working group will be on clinical practice, highlighting how the information provided by this equipment can provide an explanation for patient symptoms, establish definitive diagnosis and guide effective management.

Mark Fox on behalf of the steering committee