Abstract A computer technique was developed for scintigraphic evaluation of the transit of a compact bolus along the oesophagus. Eleven patients with the combination of bronchial asthma, oesophageal dysfunction (OD) and surfeitness after an ordinary meal were examined in an attempt to detect food retention. They were compared with 12 asymptomatic controls. There was no difference in bolus transit time between the two groups, nor did the asthmatic patients show any food retention in the distal oesophagus. It is concluded that food transit to the stomach is not affected by oesophageal dysmotility, hiatal hernia or a positive acid perfusion test reaction per se and that the aggravation of bronchial symptoms seen in patients with both bronchial asthma and OD is not due to food retention in the oesophagus. Surfeit after meals cannot be regarded as an oesophageal symptom.