Effects of esophageal stimulation in patients with functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
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We studied the effects of esophageal electrical stimulation on cortical-evoked potentials (EPs) and power spectrum of heart rate variability (PS/HRV) in patients with diabetes and non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP). We also recorded cognitive-evoked potentials (P300 EPs) in response to an odd-ball stimulation in patients with NCCP. Diabetic patients did not yield reproducible cortical EPs. Their power spectra of heart rate variability (PS/HRV) showed an increased vagal modulation during stimulation. In patients with NCCP the P300 EPs were of greater amplitude (17 +/- 3 microV vs. 12 +/- 1 microV in controls, p < 0.04), while peak latencies were slightly elongated in patients (382 +/- 22 ms vs. 354 +/- 12 ms in controls). The PS/HRV in these patients also showed an increased vagal modulation of the sinus node activity. Our results suggest the following: (1) in patients with diabetes, afferent pathways and processing of sensory signals are likely to be impaired; (2) an increased perception of esophageal stimulation reflects an exaggerated brainstem response and altered cortical processing of visceral sensation in patients with NCCP.
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