Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

George Triadafilopoulos

Publication Details

  • Olfactory stimuli provoke diffuse esophageal spasm: Reversal by ipratropium bromide AMERICAN JOURNAL OF GASTROENTEROLOGY Triadafilopoulos, G., Tsang, H. P. 1996; 91 (10): 2224-2227


    Diffuse esophageal spasm (DES) is a motor disorder of the esophageal smooth muscle characterized by multiple spontaneous contractions and by swallow-induced contractions that are of simultaneous onset, large amplitude, long duration, and repetitive occurrence. Although the pathogenesis of DES is unknown, provocative studies with cholinergic stimulation, esophageal balloon distention, or acid instillation have suggested involvement of both sensory and motor mechanisms. This report describes a patient with DES who would predictably become symptomatic with dysphagia and chest pain upon inhalation of perfume or other strong odors. Using esophageal scintigraphy to quantitate and analyze esophageal transit in this patient, we report for the first time that olfactory stimulation triggers episodes of DES and that such phenomena are mediated through the vagus nerve, because they can be ameliorated by the administration of ipratropium bromide. These observations suggest a new (sensory) pathway for the induction of DES and raise the intriguing possibility that inhaled anticholinergics may have a therapeutic role in the management of spastic esophageal motility disorders.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1996VL41800034

    View details for PubMedID 8855754

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