Existing endoscopy-based data on gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) in the general population are scarce.
Professor Bazzoli and colleagues from Italy evaluated typical symptoms and complications of GERD, and their associated risk factors, in a representative sample of the Italian population.
The research team randomised 1533 adults from 2 Italian villages to undergo symptom assessment using a validated questionnaire and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.
|The prevalence rates of esophagitis in the population was 12%|
Data were obtained from 1033 individuals.
The prevalence of reflux symptoms was 44%.
The researchers noted that 24% of the population experienced such symptoms on at least 2 days per week.
The prevalence rates of esophagitis and Barrett’s esophagus in the population were 12% and 1%, respectively.
The team found that both frequent and infrequent reflux symptoms were associated with the presence of esophagitis.
No reflux symptoms were reported by 33% of individuals with esophagitis and 46% of those with Barrett’s esophagus.
Hiatus hernia was associated with frequent reflux symptoms and esophagitis, and was present in 80% of those with Barrett’s esophagus.
The researchers found no association between body mass index and reflux symptoms or esophagitis.
Professor Bazzoli’s team concludes, “GERD is common in Italy, but the prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus in the community is lower than has been reported in selected populations.”
“Both frequent and infrequent reflux symptoms are associated with an increased risk of esophagitis.”
“Individuals with esophagitis and Barrett’s esophagus often have no reflux symptoms.”