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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 5 (1991), Issue 2, Pages 51-57
Clinical Gastroenterology

Esophageal Manometry with Provocative Testing in Patients with Noncardiac Angina-Like Chest Pain

William G Paterson, Delia A Marciano-D’Amore, Ivan T Beck, and Laurington R Da Costa

Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit and Department of Medicine, Hotel Dieu Hospital, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Received 26 June 1990; Accepted 25 October 1990

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In a five year period 238 of 594 esophageal manometric studies performed in the authors’ laboratory were done on patients whose major reason for referral was noncardiac angina-like chest pain. Standard eophageal manometry was performed followed by an acid-antacid perfusion period (Bernstein test) and then subcutaneous bethanechol (80 μg/kg to a maximum of 5 mg) was adminstered. Baseline manometry was normal in 38% of patients and was diagnostic of ‘nutcracker’ esophagus, nonspecific esophageal motility disorder, diffuse esophageal spasm and isolated hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter in 24%, 19%, 16% and 3% of patients, respectively. Ninety-six of 238 patients (40%) experienced reproduction of their presenting angina-like chest pain during acid perfusion. In 80% of these patients there were associated esophageal motor abnormal ilies induced by the acid perfusion. Thirty-six of 212 (17%) experienced pain reproduction following the injection of bethanechol; however, 16 of these had already had their presenting chest pain reproduced during the acid perfusion study. In two-thirds of the patients with pain reproduction following bechanechol there was an associated bethanechol-induced esophageal motility disorder. Overall 49% of patients had their pain reproduced during provocative testing. The acid perfusion test reproduced the pain much more frequently than bethanechol simulation. This study reaffirms the value of esophageal manometry and provocative testing in this group of patients.