Dr Hashem El-Serag and colleagues updated the findings of the 2005 systematic review of population-based studies assessing the epidemiology of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
PubMed and Embase were screened for new references using the original search strings.
Studies were required to be population-based, to include ≥200 individuals, to have response rates ≥50%, and recall periods <12 months.
GERD was defined as heartburn and/or regurgitation on at least 1 day a week, or according to the Montreal definition, or diagnosed by a clinician.
The team examined temporal and geographic trends in disease prevalence using a Poisson regression model.
|The range of GERD prevalence estimates was 18%–28% in North America|
The team found 16 studies of GERD epidemiology published since the original review to be suitable for inclusion, and were added to the 13 prevalence and 2 incidence studies found previously.
The range of GERD prevalence estimates was 18%–28% in North America, 9%–26% in Europe, 3%–8% in East Asia, 9%–33% in the Middle East, 12% in Australia and 23% in South America.
The researchers found that the incidence per 1000 person-years was approximately 5 in the overall UK and US populations, and 0.84 in paediatric patients aged 1–17 years in the UK.
Evidence suggests an increase in GERD prevalence since 1995, particularly in North America and East Asia.
Dr El-Serag's team comments, "GERD is prevalent worldwide, and disease burden may be increasing."
"Prevalence estimates show considerable geographic variation, but only East Asia shows estimates consistently lower than 10%."