Background and aim: Although pretreatment with a sedative drug is effective in relieving pain during esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), such drugs can cause significant side-effects. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of slow-wave photic stimulation on discomfort and/or pain felt during EGD.
Methods: Forty consecutive patients (25 men and 15 women) who underwent diagnostic EGD in our hospital were included in the study. Twenty patients received photic stimulation for 25 min, and underwent electroencephalographic recording, in addition to the usual premedications. Twenty control patients received the same treatment but without photic stimulation. All patients evaluated the discomfort/pain felt during endoscopy against a five-grade scale in comparison with what they had experienced in their previous examination.
Results: Patients with an improved discomfort/pain score were 18/20 and 3/20 in the treated and control groups, respectively. Overall comparison of pain scores between both groups was significant (P<0.0001). The proportion of slow-wave activity recorded in patients' electroencephalograms significantly increased in the treated group compared to control values (36.6+/-6.8% vs 29.1+/-3.4%, P<0.001). There was a close correlation between the degree of discomfort/pain felt during endoscopy and the proportion of slow-wave activity (P<0.001).
Conclusion: Slow-wave photic stimulation shows promise as a treatment for relieving the discomfort and/or pain felt by patients undergoing EGD.