Abstract Oesophageal spasm presents with dysphagia and chest pain. Current treatments are limited by poor efficacy and side effects. Studies in health and oesophageal dysmotility show that sildenafil reduces peristaltic pressure and velocity; however the clinical efficacy and tolerability in symptomatic oesophageal spasm remains uncertain. We provided open-label sildenafil treatment to two patients with severe, treatment resistant symptoms associated with oesophageal spasm. The effects of sildenafil on oesophageal function and symptoms were documented by high resolution manometry (HRM). Patients were followed up to assess the efficacy of maintenance treatment with sildenafil b.i.d. HRM revealed focal and diffuse spasm in the smooth muscle oesophagus that were associated with symptoms in both cases, especially on swallowing solids. Lower oesophageal sphincter function was normal. A therapeutic trial of 25–50 mg sildenafil suppressed oesophageal contraction almost completely for water swallows; however effective, coordinated peristalsis returned with reduced frequency of spasm for solid swallows. Dysphagia and chest pain resolved during the therapeutic trial and efficacy was maintained on maintenance treatment with 25–50 mg sildenafil b.i.d. without troublesome side effects. This report shows that sildenafil can improve oesophageal function and relieve dysphagia and chest pain in patients with oesophageal spasm in whom other treatments have failed.