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The effect of general anaesthesia on gastric myoelectric activity in experimental pigs

Ilja Tachecí1*, Jaroslav Květina1, Martin Kuneš1, Michal Pavlík2, Marcela Kopáčová1, Vladimír Černý34, Stanislav Rejchrt1, Jithinraj Edakkanambeth Varayil1 and Jan Bureš1

Author Affiliations

1 2nd Department of Internal Medicine – Gastroenterology, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

2 Department of Teaching Support, University of Defence, Faculty of Military Health Services, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

3 Department of Anaesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

4 Department of Anaesthesia, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

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BMC Gastroenterology 2013, 13:48  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-13-48

Published: 14 March 2013



Surface electrogastrography (EGG) is a non-invasive method for clinical assessment of gastric myoelectrical activity. Different forms of general anaesthesia might have various effects on porcine EGG. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of different anaesthetic agents on EGG in experimental pigs.


Four 15-minute EGG intervals were recorded and analysed. A baseline EGG recording was started 20 minutes after intramuscular injection of ketamine and azaperone (periods A and B). Four different regimens of general anaesthesia followed immediately after the baseline EGG (5 pigs in each experimental group): thiopental, isoflurane, nitrous oxide and isoflurane plus nitrous oxide. EGG recordings followed for the next 30 minutes under general anaesthesia (periods C and D). The dominant frequencies of slow waves were compared between the baseline intervals A and B and periods C and D under general anaesthesia.


The mean dominant frequency was within the normal range (2.3 – 3.5 cycles per minute) in all animals in all regimens. Thiopental general anaesthesia did not influence any change of the dominant frequency of slow waves. Nitrous oxide general anaesthesia increased the dominant frequency of slow waves in a statistically significant manner (baseline: 2.93 ± 0.53 and 3.01 ± 0.53; under general anaesthesia: 3.25 ± 0.34 and 3.29 ± 0.38 cycles per minute; p < 0.001, p = 0.003, p < 0.001, p < 0.001). Nitrous oxide together with isoflurane induced a statistically significant decrease of dominant frequency in the last 15-minute interval (2.66 ± 0.55 cycles per minute) compared to the baseline recording (2.81 ± 0.49; p = 0.030).


All changes of porcine gastric myoelectric activity assessed by the dominant frequency of slow waves during EGG remained within the normal range although some of them achieved statistical significance. Thus all tested agents used for general anaesthesia can be recommended in preclinical studies with porcine models focused on gastric myoelectric activity without any risk of compromising the results. Thiopental seems to be the most suitable as it did not cause any changes at all.

Electrogastrography; Experimental pigs; Gastric myoelectrical activity; General anaesthesia; Isoflurane; Nitrous oxide; Thiopental