The effects of ethanol, given either intragastrically or intravenously, on the sphincter of Oddi was evaluated by endoscopic manometry. In 12 subjects intragastric ethanol (150 ml of 32%) was given over 10 minutes. In five control subjects saline solution (150 ml of 0.9%) was given intragastrically instead of ethanol. In five other subjects ethanol was infused intravenously (6 ml/kg of 10%) for 36 minutes. Ethanol given intragastrically produced a significant inhibitory effect on sphincter of Oddi pressure. Peak pressure fell from a control value of 75.7 +/- 26.35 mmHg to 39 +/- 15.39 mmHg (p less than 0.001) at 35 minutes. Basal pressure fell from a control value of 30.17 +/- 19.47 mmHg to 11.83 +/- 6.35 mmHg (p less than 0.01) at 35 minutes. Wave height fell from a control value of 41.33 +/- 15.4 mmHg to 27.16 +/- 11.25 mmHg (p less than 0.02) at 35 minutes. No effects on sphincter of Oddi wave frequency were observed. No significant modifications of sphincter motor activity were observed after intragastric saline infusion. Ethanol given intravenously also produced an appreciable inhibitory effect on sphincter of Oddi pressure, without affecting its wave frequency.
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