Asbjørn Mohr Drewes

Acute physiological and electrical accentuation of vagal tone has no effect on pain or gastrointestinal motility in chronic pancreatitis

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


  • Jacob Juel, Aalborg Univ Hosp, Aalborg University, Dept Gastroenterol & Hepatol, Mech Sense
  • ,
  • Christina Brock
  • Soren S. Olesen, Aalborg Univ Hosp, Aalborg University, Dept Gastroenterol & Hepatol, Mech Sense, Aalborg Universitet
  • ,
  • Adnan Madzak, Aalborg Univ Hosp, Aalborg University, Dept Radiol, Mech Sense
  • ,
  • Adam D. Farmer, Queen Mary Univ London, University of London, Queen Mary University London, Barts & London Sch Med & Dent, Ctr Neurosci & Trauma, Wingate Inst Neurogastroenterol,Blizard Inst
  • ,
  • Qasim Aziz
  • ,
  • Jens B. Frokjaer, Aalborg Universitet, Aalborg Univ Hosp, Aalborg University, Dept Radiol, Mech Sense
  • ,
  • Asbjorn Mohr Drewes

Background: The effective management of pain in chronic pancreatitis (CP) remains a therapeutic challenge. Analgesic drugs, such as opioids, and the underlying pathology can impair gut function. The autonomic nervous system influences hormone secretion and gut motility. In healthy volunteers, electrical (using noninvasive transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation [t-VNS]) and physiological (using deep slow breathing [DSB]) modulation of parasympathetic tone results in pain attenuation and enhanced gut motility. Thus, the aims were to investigate whether t-VNS and DSB could enhance the parasympathetic tone, decrease pain sensitivity and improve gut motility in CP.

Patients and methods: A total of 20 patients (12 males, mean age= 61 years, range: 50-78 years) with CP were randomized to short-term (60 minutes) t-VNS and DSB, or their placebo equivalent, in a crossover design. Cardiometrically derived parameters of autonomic tone, quantitative sensory testing of bone and muscle pain pressure, conditioned pain modulation (CPM) and assessments of gastroduodenal motility with ultrasound were performed.

Results: In comparison to sham, t-VNS and DSB increased cardiac vagal tone (CVT) (P<0.001). However, no changes in pain pressure thresholds for bone (P= 0.95) or muscle (P= 0.45) were seen. There was diminished CPM (P= 0.04), and no changes in gastroduodenal motility were observed (P= 0.3).

Conclusion: This explorative study demonstrated that t-VNS and DSB increased CVT in patients with CP. However, this short-lasting increase did not affect pain sensitivity to musculoskeletal pain or gastroduodenal motility. The chronic pain in CP patients is complex, and future trials optimizing neuromodulation for pain relief and improved motility are needed.

TidsskriftJournal of Pain Research
Sider (fra-til)1347-1355
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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