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A series of normal coordinated, rhythmic muscle contractions, that occurs automatically to move food through the digestive tract is called peristalsis.

Review Date 11/5/2012

Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.