Effects of esophageal stimulation in healthy subjects.
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We studied the effects of esophageal electrical stimulation on heart rate variability power spectra (PS/HRV) and cortical evoked potentials (EPs) in healthy subjects. The intensity of stimulation was varied from 2.7 to 20 mA. We found that the amplitude of the cortical evoked potentials (amplitude of the N2/P2 peak) increased from 5.1 +/- 0.7 microV at 5 mA to 16.3 +/- 1.1 microV at 20 mA. The PS/HRV showed an increase in the vagal modulation of the sinus node. When the stimulation frequency was varied from 0.1 to 1 Hz at a constant intensity of 15 mA, the amplitude of cortical EPs (N2/P2 peak) decreased with increase in the frequency of stimulation (p < 0.05). The LF:HF ratio decreased significantly for all frequencies of stimulation (p < 0.005). An experimental paradigm to evoke the cognitive component in the cortical EPs yielded a peak around 354 ms following the stimulus.
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