The effect of sildenafil on oesophageal motor function in healthy subjects and patients with nutcracker oesophagus

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2003 Dec;15(6):617-23. doi: 10.1046/j.1350-1925.2003.00450.x.


Type 5 phosphodiesterase terminates the action of nitric oxide (NO) induced 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP). Sildenafil inhibits this phosphodiesterase, increases cellular cGMP concentrations and enhances NO-induced smooth muscle relaxation. We investigated the effect of sildenafil on the oesophageal motor function of healthy subjects and patients with nutcracker oesophagus. Eight healthy volunteers and nine patients with nutcracker oesophagus participated in this study. The participants underwent oesophageal manometries on two separate days after either 20 mL of distilled water or 0.8 mg kg-1 sildenafil dissolved in 20 mL of water was infused into the stomach. Lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) resting pressure, the duration of LOS relaxation and the amplitudes of oesophageal pressure waves were examined before, and 7.5, 15, 30 and 60 min after either placebo or sildenafil. In both healthy subjects and patients with nutcracker oesophagus, sildenafil decreased resting LOS pressure and the amplitude of peristaltic pressure waves at 3, 8 and 13 cm above LOS. Sildenafil also prolonged the duration of LOS relaxation. It had no effect on the velocity of peristalsis or the amplitude of peristaltic pressure waves 18 cm above LOS. Sildenafil may be considered as an alternative treatment in nutcracker oesophagus although there are several limitations to be overcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / physiopathology
  • Esophagus / drug effects*
  • Esophagus / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Peristalsis / drug effects
  • Peristalsis / physiology
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use
  • Purines
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Sulfones


  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Sildenafil Citrate