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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2011 Dec;301(6):G1093-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00293.2011. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Effect of esophageal contraction on esophageal wall blood perfusion.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, San Diego Veterans Affairs Health Care System and University of California, San Diego, California 92161, USA.


Myocardial blood flow occurs during the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle, because myocardial contraction during the systolic phase impedes myocardial perfusion. Using laser Doppler perfusion technique, we studied the effect of esophageal contraction on the esophageal wall perfusion. Studies were conducted in rats. A laser Doppler probe was anchored to the esophageal wall, and wall perfusion was studied under various experimental conditions. Increase and decrease in the systemic blood pressure induced by different pharmacological agents was associated with the increase and decrease in the esophageal wall perfusion, respectively. Esophageal contractions induced by electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve and electrical stimulation of the muscle directly resulted in a reduction in the esophageal wall perfusion, in a dose-dependent fashion. Esophageal wall perfusion could be monitored by placing the Doppler probe on the esophageal mucosa or on the outside of the esophageal wall. Esophageal contraction impedes entry of blood into the esophageal wall. Future studies may investigate if ischemia of the esophageal wall induced by sustained esophageal contractions/esophageal spasm is the cause of esophageal pain symptoms in humans.

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