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Diabet Med. 1985 Sep;2(5):378-82.

Oesophageal function in diabetes mellitus and its association with autonomic neuropathy.


We have evaluated oesophageal function in 34 diabetics and in 16 non-diabetic controls by a timed bolus transit method derived from dynamic oesophageal scintiscans (water transit time: WTT) and barium swallow. The diabetics were screened for autonomic neuropathy using standard cardiovascular responses and 10 patients were classified as abnormal. WTT was significantly prolonged in autonomic neuropaths compared with other diabetics (p less than 0.01) and controls (p less than 0.001). Abnormal peristalsis on barium swallow was seen more frequently in autonomic neuropaths (9/10) than in other diabetics (11/24, p less than 0.002). WTTs from all diabetic patients correlated with abnormal heart rate responses at rest (Rs = - 0.49, p less than 0.005), on deep inspiration (Rs = -0.48, p less than 0.005), and on standing (Rs = -0.39, p less than 0.025) but not with the Valsalva manoeuvre. A weaker correlation was found between the postural fall in blood pressure (Rs = 0.3, p less than 0.05). Diabetics with autonomic neuropathy frequently have asymptomatic oesophageal dysfunction which may result from a vagal neuropathy in view of its association with abnormalities of vagally mediated cardiovascular responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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