Heart Rate Variability and Gastric Electrical Response to a Cold Pressor Task in Youth with Functional Dyspepsia

Dig Dis Sci. 2020 Apr;65(4):1074-1081. doi: 10.1007/s10620-019-05848-4. Epub 2019 Sep 23.


Background/aims: While stress has been implicated in functional dyspepsia (FD), the mechanisms by which stress results in symptoms are not well defined. The aim of the current study was to assess gastric myoelectric and autonomic changes in response to a physical stressor in youth with FD.

Methods: In a group of healthy controls and pediatric FD subjects, we recorded ECG and EGG signals 30 min before and 60 min after, a cold pressor task (CPT). Gastric EGG and heart rate variability (HRV) parameters were calculated in pre- and post-CPT stages and in short intervals.

Results: The pre-CPT percent tachygastria was higher in FD subjects as compared to controls. However, CPT did not induce any EGG changes in either controls or FD subjects and the two groups did not differ from each other post-CPT. The CPT resulted in an increase in HRV and standard deviation of NN intervals in controls; there was no change in any HRV parameter in FD subjects.

Conclusions: Acute physical stress does not appear to induce gastric electrical abnormalities in youth with FD. Youth with FD appear to lack the normal flexible autonomic response to a physical stressor.

Keywords: Anxiety; Cold pressor test; Electrogastrography; Functional dyspepsia; Heart rate variability; Stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cold Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Dyspepsia / diagnosis*
  • Dyspepsia / physiopathology*
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology*