Aim: Investigation of the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and diseases associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Patients and Methods: 299 subjects with GERD were submitted to upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring and a symptom analysis. Results: Chronic respiratory symptoms or diseases were present in 18% (56/299). Chronic cough was observed in 42/56 patients, while typical reflux symptoms such as heartburn and acid regurgitation were observed in 30/56 and 24/56 cases, respectively. The prevalence of airway diseases was chronic bronchitis 12/56, asthma 10/56, recurrent pneumonia 10/56, chronic sinusitis 7/56 and chronic laryngitis 1/56. In patients with respiratory complications pathologic acid reflux was established in 29/51 cases on the basis of the DeMeester score, while 17/51 had pathologic postprandial, nocturnal or diurnal reflux events. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy revealed a normal esophageal mucosa in 6/56, Savary-Miller stage I esophagitis in 23/56, stage II in 15/56, stage III in 5/56 and stage IV in 6/56 patients. Conclusions: These investigations have demonstrated an abnormal 24-hour pH score in about half of the patients with GERD-associated respiratory complications, and indicated that short reflux events are characteristic of the reflux activity in one third of this population.
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