There is a large amount of information on the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, data specifically addressing nocturnal reflux are limited.
Nocturnal acid reflux is associated with injuries such as esophagitis and stricture, as well as adenocarcinoma.
Understanding the prevalence and impact of nighttime heartburn as a sign of nocturnal acid reflux events has significant implications for management implications.
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of nighttime heartburn and reflux-attributed supraesophageal symptoms among patients with GERD. The team of researchers from the United States also assessed the impact of nighttime heartburn on sleep and quality of life.
They conducted a nationwide telephone survey of 1000 adults experiencing heartburn at least once a week.
|75% had symptoms which affected their sleep.|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The investigators found that 79% of respondents reported experiencing heartburn at night.
Of those, 75% had symptoms which affected their sleep, 63% found that heartburn affected their ability to sleep well, and 40% found that nocturnal heartburn impaired their ability to function the following day.
The team determined that of the 791 respondents with nighttime heartburn, 71% took over-the-counter medication, but only 29% found this extremely effective.
They also found that 41% tried prescription medication. Of these, 49% found this extremely effective.
Dr Reza Shaker's team concluded, "Nighttime heartburn occurs in a large majority of adults with GERD, resulting in sleeping difficulties and impaired next-day function".
"The expected result from implemented therapy for heartburn is not achieved by a sizable percentage of patients".