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Dig Dis Sci. 1993 May;38(5):795-802.

Ambulatory esophageal manometry, pH-metry, and Holter ECG monitoring in patients with atypical chest pain.

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Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Standard Holter electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring was combined with ambulatory esophageal manometry and pH-metry in 25 patients with atypical chest pain in order to determine whether an association could be found between spontaneous pain episodes and ischemic ECG changes or esophageal dysfunction. Results of ambulatory testing were compared to those obtained with standard esophageal manometry and provocative testing. Twenty-two of the 25 patients experienced a total of 88 pain episodes during ambulatory testing. Although 15 of the 22 patients (68%) experiencing pain during testing had at least one pain episode that correlated temporally with gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dysmotility or ischemic ECG changes, 65% of all pain episodes were unrelated to abnormal esophageal events or ECG changes. Seventeen percent of pain episodes were associated with gastroesophageal reflux, 15% with esophageal dysmotility, and 2% with a combined acid reflux and esophageal dysmotility event. Only one pain episode was associated with ischemic ECG changes. Twelve of the 15 patients with chest pain episodes associated with reflux or esophageal dysmotility had other identical pain episodes in which there was no correlation. Reproduction of a patient's pain during standard manometry with provocative testing did not predict a strong correlation between the patient's spontaneous pain episodes and esophageal dysfunction during ambulatory recordings. In summary, patients with atypical chest pain have relatively few spontaneous pain episodes that correlate with gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dysmotility, or ischemic ECG changes. It appears that different stimuli can trigger identical episodes of chest pain, which suggests that many of these patients may have dysfunction of their visceral pain sensory mechanisms.

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