Background/Aims: Patients with functional dyspepsia often have meal-induced dyspeptic symptoms and low vagal tone. We examined whether these variables are related in healthy subjects. Methodology: In 40 healthy subjects vagal tone and abdominal symptoms were recorded before and after a 500-ml soup meal ingested in 1 and 4 min on separate visits. Vagal tone was indexed by respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). Results: Scores for nausea and discomfort were higher when the soup was ingested in 1 min as compared with 4 min (nausea: p = 0.02; discomfort: p = 0.04). There was no difference in fullness or abdominal pain. RSA was unrelated to meal-induced symptom scores. RSA varied with respiration and body position: It was highest while breathing deeply in the sitting position (24.0 beats/min). With normal breathing RSA was highest in the supine position (9.0 beats/min), lower while sitting (7.0 beats/min) and lowest while standing (6.2 beats/min). Conclusions: Epigastric discomfort in response to rapid ingestion of a test meal in healthy subjects was not related to vagal tone as indexed by RSA. Vagal tone varied with breathing pattern and body position. It is possible that increasing vagal tone by such measures can be beneficial in the treatment of patients with functional dyspepsia.

1.
Coffin B, Azpiroz F, Guarner F, Malagelada J-R: Selective gastric hypersensitivity and reflex hyporeactivity in functional dyspepsia. Gastroenterology 1994;107:1345–1351.
[PubMed]
2.
Hausken T, Gilja OH, Undeland KA, Berstad A: Timing of postprandial dyspeptic symptoms and transpyloric passage of gastric contents. Scand J Gastroenterol 1998;33:822–827.
[PubMed]
3.
Paterson CA, Anvari M, Tougas G, Huizinga JD: Nitrergic and cholinergic vagal pathways involved in the regulation of canine proximal gastric tone: an in vivo study. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2000;12:301–306.
[PubMed]
4.
Abrahamsson H: Vagal relaxation of the stomach induced from the gastric antrum. Acta Physiol Scand 1973;89:406–414.
[PubMed]
5.
Berstad A: Functional dyspepsia – a conceptual framework. Gut 2000;(suppl IV)47:iv3–iv4.
6.
Stadaas J, Aune S: Intragastric pressure/volume relationship before and after vagotomy. Acta Chir Scand 1970;136:611–615.
[PubMed]
7.
Notivol R, Coffin B, Azpiroz F, Mearin F, Serra J, Malagelada JR: Gastiric tone determines the sensitivity of the stomach to distention. Gastroenterology 1995;108:330–336.
[PubMed]
8.
Distrutti E, Azpiroz F, Soldevilla A, Malagelada JR: Gastric wall tension determines perception of gastric distention. Gastroenterology 1999;116:1035–1042.
[PubMed]
9.
Hausken T, Svebak S, Wilhelmsen I, Haug TT, Olafsen K, Pettersson E, Hveem K, Berstad A: Low vagal tone and antral dysmotility in patients with functional dyspepsia. Psychosom Med 1993;55:12–22.
[PubMed]
10.
Gilja OH, Hausken T, Wilhelmsen I, Berstad A: Impaired accommodation of proximal stomach to a meal in functional dyspepsia. Dig Dis Sci 1996;41:689–696.
[PubMed]
11.
Taché Y: Cyclic vomiting syndrome. The corticotropin-releasing-factor hypothesis. Dig Dis Sci 1999;44:79S–86S.
[PubMed]
12.
Kleiger RE, Miller JP, Bigger JT, Moss AJ, and the Multicenter Post-infarction Research Group: Decreased heart rate variability and its association with increased mortality after acute myocardial infarction. Am J Cardiol 1987;59:256–262.
[PubMed]
13.
Undeland KA, Gilja OH, Hausken T, Aanderud S, Berstad A: Gastric meal accommodation studied by ultrasound in diabetes. Relation to vagal tone. Scand J Gastroenterol 1998;33:236–241.
[PubMed]
14.
Grossmann P, Svebak S: Respiratory sinus arrhythmia as an index of parasympathetic cardiac control during active coping. Psychophysiology 1987;24:228–235
[PubMed]
15.
Katona PG, Jih R: Respiratory sinus arrhythmia: a non-invasive measure of parasympathetic cardiac control. J Applied Physiol 1975;39:801–805.
[PubMed]
16.
Sternbach RA: Stimulus-response spesificity; in Sternbach RA (ed): Principles of Psychophysiology. New York, Academic Press, 1966, pp 79–93.
17.
Sternbach RA: Individual response-stereotypi; in Sternach RA (ed): Principles of Psychophysiology. New York, Academic Press, 1966, pp 95–109.
18.
Eckberg DL: Human sinus arrhythmia as an index of vagal cardiac outflow. J Appl Physiol 1983;54(4):961–966.
19.
Bland JM, Altman DG: Measurement error and correlation coefficients. Br Med J 1996;313:41–42.
20.
Azpiroz F, Malagelada JR: Importance of vagal input in maintaining gastric tone in the dog. J Physiol 1987;384:511–524.
[PubMed]
21.
Azpiroz F, Malagelada JR: Vagally mediated gastric relaxation induced by intestinal nutrients in the dog. Am J Physiol 1986;251:G727–G735.
[PubMed]
22.
Grey EG: Observations on the postural activity of the stomach. Am J Physiol 1918;45:272–285.
23.
Azpiroz F, Malagelada JR: Physiological variations in canine gastric tone measured by an electronic barostat. Am J Physiol 1985;248:G229–G237.
[PubMed]
24.
Lemann M, Dedering JP, Flourie B, Franchisseur C, Rambaud J, Jian R: Abnormal perception of visceral pain in response to gastric distention in chronic idiopatic dyspepsia. The irritable stomach. Dig Dis Sci 1991;36:1249–1254.
[PubMed]
25.
Paintal AS: A study of gastric stretch receptors. Their role in the peripheral mechanism of satiation of hunger and thirst. J Physiol 1954;126:255–270.
26.
Undeland KA, Hausken T, Gilja OH, Ropert A, Galmiche JP, Berstad A: Gastric relaxation in response to a meal in healthy subjects. A study using a barostat in the proximal stomach. Scand J Gastroenterol 1995;30:1069–1076.
[PubMed]
27.
Grossman P, van Beek J, Wientjes C: A comparison of three quantification methods for estimation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Psychophysiology 1990;27 (6):702–714.
28.
Hayano J, Sakakibara Y, Yamada A, Yamada M, Mukai S, Fujinami T, Yokoyama K, Watanabe Y, Takata K: Accuracy of assessment of cardiac vagal tone by heart rate variability in normal subjects. Am J Cardiol 1991;67(2):199–204.
29.
Abrahamsson H, Thoren P: Vomiting and reflex vagal relaxation of the stomach elicited from heart receptors in the cat. Acta Physiol Scand 1973;88:433–439.
[PubMed]
30.
Kuo CD, Chen GY: Comparison of three recumbent positions on vagal and sympathetic modulation using spectral heart rate variability in patients with coronary artery disease. Am J Cardiol 1998;81(4):392–396.
31.
Jokerst MD, Gatto M, Fazio R, Stern RM, Koch KL: Slow deep breathing prevents the development of tachygastria and symptoms of motion sickness. Aviat Space Envir Med 1999;70:1189–1192.
[PubMed]
32.
Reyes del Paso GA, Godoy J, Vila J: Self-regulation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Biofeedback Self Regul 1992;17:261–275.
[PubMed]
You do not currently have access to this content.