Cardiac autonomic regulation during gastroscopy

M Ristikankare, R Julkunen, M Heikkinen, Tomi Laitinen, S-X Wang, J Hartikainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Gastroscopy is sometimes associated with adverse cardiovascular events.

AIMS: We evaluated the effects of sedation and pharyngeal anaesthesia on cardiac autonomic regulation during gastroscopy.

PATIENTS: Two hundred thirteen outpatients undergoing gastroscopy.

METHODS: The patients were assigned to 4 groups: (1) sedation with intravenous midazolam and placebo throat spray (midazolam group), (2) placebo sedation and pharyngeal anaesthesia with lidocaine (lidocaine group), (3) placebo sedation and placebo throat spray (placebo group), and (4) no intravenous cannula nor throat spray (control group). Continuous electrocardiogram was recorded. Heart rate variability was assessed; the powers of low frequency (0.04-0.15 Hz) and high frequency (0.15-0.40 Hz) components as well as total power (0.0-0.4 Hz) were calculated.

RESULTS: Gastroscopy was associated with a decrease in high frequency normalized units, increases in low frequency normalized units and low frequency/high frequency ratio indicating activation of sympathetic and withdrawal of vagal modulation. Sympathetic activation resulted in a decrease in total power and all components of heart rate variability. The decrease was most prominent in the midazolam treated patients (p<0.001 vs the lidocaine group and p<0.01 vs placebo and control groups during the postendoscopy phase).

CONCLUSION: Gastroscopy induces a shift towards dominance of the sympathetic modulation of the heart. Premedication with midazolam potentiates this shift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-52
Number of pages5
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Conscious Sedation
  • Electrocardiography
  • Gastroscopy
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Midazolam
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System
  • Premedication
  • Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial


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