Impairment of gastrointestinal motility by nitrate administration: evaluation based on electrogastrographic changes and autonomic nerve activity

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Nitrates decrease the tone of the lower oesophageal sphincter, and may thus induce gastro-oesophageal reflux.


In the present study, we evaluated electrogastrographic changes and heart-rate variability before and after the administration of nitrates.


In 15 patients with chest pain treated with nitrates, electrocardiography and percutaneous electrogastrography were performed before and after administration of nitrates. Autonomic nervous system function was evaluated by spectral analysis of heart-rate variability and serial changes in low frequency and high frequency power, and the low frequency/high frequency ratio were compared. Electrogastrograms were analysed by obtaining peak power amplitudes and their dominant frequencies.


After the administration of nitrates (isosorbide dinitrate), high frequency power, an index of parasympathetic nervous activity, was significantly decreased, whereas the low frequency/high frequency ratio, an index of sympathetic nervous activity, was significantly increased. The mean peak amplitude of the electrogastrogram significantly increased postprandially both before and after treatment. After isosorbide dinitrate treatment, however, mean peak amplitudes after a meal were significantly lower than those obtained before treatment. The mean dominant frequency of the electrogastrogram did not vary before and after treatment.


The present study suggests that nitrates inhibit gastrointestinal motility by decreasing autonomic nervous activity.

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