Research Article

Vagal function in relation to gastro-oesophageal reflux and associated motility changes.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.280.6216.755 (Published 15 March 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:755
  1. R V Heatley,
  2. R J Collins,
  3. P D James,
  4. M Atkinson

    Abstract

    Vagal function in 28 patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux was examined by determining gastric secretory response to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia and pulse-rate variation with respiration. Gastric secretory studies were also performed on 13 patients with duodenal ulcer who had not undergone operations. In all patients the presence and degree of oesophagitis were determined endoscopically and mucosal biopsy and oesophageal manometry were performed. Seven of the 28 patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux showed evidence of impaired vagal efferent function in the upper alimentary tract. No such impairment was found in those patients who showed manometric evidence of oesophageal spasm secondary to gastro-oesophageal reflux. Low pulse-rate variation with respiration was found in 12 of 27 patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux, suggesting dysfunction of cardiac vagal fibres. Impairment of efferent vagal supply may be a causative factor in some patients with gastr-oesophageal reflux but does not seem to be important in oesophageal spasm secondary to gastro-oesophageal reflux.