Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common diagnosis in primary care.
However, there has been no comprehensive review of the epidemiology of GERD in this setting.
Dr El-Serag and colleagues systematically reviewed articles that used the General Practice Research Database to study the epidemiology of GERD.
The researchers identified 17 articles that fulfilled the inclusion criteria.
The incidence of GERD in primary care was 5 new diagnoses per 1000 person-years in 1996.
A new diagnosis of GERD was associated with being overweight, obese or an ex-smoker.
|A first diagnosis of GERD was associated with an increased risk of gallbladder disease|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Prior diagnoses of ischemic heart disease, peptic ulcer disease, nonspecific chest pain, nonspecific abdominal pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma were associated with a subsequent new GERD diagnosis.
A first diagnosis of GERD was associated with an increased risk of a subsequent diagnosis of esophageal adenocarcinoma, esophageal stricture, chronic cough, and sinusitis.
In addition, the team noted that a first diagnosis of GERD was associated with an increased risk of chest pain, angina, gallbladder disease, irritable bowel syndrome or sleep problems.
Mortality may be higher in patients with a GERD diagnosis than in those without in the first year after diagnosis, but not long term.
Dr El-Serag’s team concludes, “The General Practice Research Database is an effective way of studying the epidemiology of GERD in a large population-based primary care setting.”