Edrophonium provocative test in noncardiac chest pain. Evaluation of testing techniques

Dig Dis Sci. 1990 Dec;35(12):1445-51. doi: 10.1007/BF01540560.


Edrophonium chloride is used frequently as a provocative agent in the assessment of noncardiac chest pain (NCCP). However, the optimum dose and most appropriate method of interpreting test results is controversial. We studied 150 consecutive NCCP patients and 50 age-matched controls who alternately received either 80 micrograms/kg or 10 mg intravenous bolus doses of edrophonium preceded by saline placebo injections. Distal esophageal pressures were measured before and after drug injection in response to ten 5-cc wet swallows. Following 10 mg of edrophonium, 33% of patients and 4% of controls reported chest pain, while 29% of patients and no controls receiving the 80 micrograms/kg dose complained of chest pain. Amplitude changes after either dose were not significantly different for all comparisons, but the duration of response did distinguish the two doses in patients with chest pain. A significantly greater (P = 0.01) increase in distal contraction duration occurred after 10 mg (74 +/- 12%; +/- SE) compared to 80 micrograms/kg dose (43 +/- 6%). However, individual responses to the two doses overlapped considerably. If a positive test is redefined to include both chest pain and manometric changes that are significantly different from controls, the positivity rate changes drastically; 33% to 9% in the 10-mg group and 30% to 3% in the 80-micrograms/kg group. Side effects were similar between doses, but there was a significant (P = 0.02) linear relationship between intensity of side effects and the edrophonium dose per kilogram of body weight.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Chest Pain / etiology*
  • Edrophonium* / administration & dosage
  • Edrophonium* / adverse effects
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Esophagus / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Peristalsis / drug effects


  • Edrophonium