Dr Magnus Ruth and colleagues from Sweden evaluated the occurrence and changes over time of upper gastrointestinal symptoms.
The researchers randomly recruited adult subjects from the general population of Göteborg.
The investigative team carried out a questionnaire recording of upper gastrointestinal symptoms with a 10-year follow-up in this random sample of the adult population.
The team reported that the original sample, from 1986, comprised of 441 subjects within the age span of 20 to 79 years.
|The prevalence of heartburn was 25% with a corresponding yearly incidence of 2%|
|Scandanavian Journal of Gastroenterology|
The research team had a total of 337 subjects participating in the index assessment, of which 197 subsequently answered the second questionnaire10 years later.
The researchers found that the majority or 83% of the responders reported no change in their global assessment of symptoms.
The investigators observed that neither the point prevalence nor the severity for any symptom changed significantly over time.
The prevalence of heartburn was 25% and the corresponding yearly incidence was estimated to be 2%.
The research team noted that the prevalence of acid regurgitation was 22%, with a corresponding yearly incidence estimated at 1%.
The researchers found that the main predictor for the occurrence of symptoms of moderate to severe degree at follow-up was the presence of the same symptom 10 years previously.
Age or gender per se did not significantly influence the occurrence of symptoms.
In addition, the team reported that changes in body mass index and anti-reflux medication co-varied with the severity of the symptoms heartburn and acid regurgitation.
Dr Ruth's team concludes, “Esophageal symptoms are common in the adult Swedish population and seem to be fairly stable over time.”