Cardiovascular effects of gastric intubation and distension in healthy humans

P. Cantù, D. Savojardo, M. V. Barelli, V. Buonamici, G. Bertinieri, R. Penagini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few data exist on the effect of upper gut stimuli on the cardiovascular system. Aim of our study was to evaluate the cardiovascular effects of gastric intubation and distension. Eleven healthy subjects (eight men, aged 21-30 years) were studied and a non-invasive beat-to-beat cardiovascular monitoring system was used. After 15-min basal recording, a bag catheter was positioned in the proximal stomach and connected to a barostat. Recordings were first performed for 15 min with the bag deflated, then during inflation of air using a 100 mL per 2 min stepwise protocol until epigastric discomfort was reported, and finally for 15 min with the bag inflated at 75% of discomfort volume separed from the preceding period by 10 min with the bag deflated. Presence of the deflated bag catheter significantly increased mean arterial pressure. Stepwise distension progressively increased heart rate and cardiac index, while mean arterial pressure was affected only at discomfort volume. Peripheral resistances and systemic plasma catecholamines were unaffected. During prolonged distension, the effect on heart rate and cardiac index was transient. In conclusion, both gastric intubation and distension alter cardiovascular parameters, but the effect of distension undergoes rapid adaptation. Experimentally induced gastric distension is a valuable stimulus to study viscero-cardiovascular reflexes and their mechanisms using beat-to-beat measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-310
Number of pages7
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Electronic barostat
  • Gastric distension
  • Heart rate
  • Mean arterial pressure
  • Sympatho-vagal balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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