Impaired autonomic function has been observed in patients with gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD).
However, little is known about autonomic function in patients with non-erosive reflux disease.
Dr Chien-Lin Chen and colleagues from Taiwan investigated differences in autonomic function by means of heart rate variability in GERD.
The research team assessed 35 GERD patients with and without erosive esophagitis and 20 healthy controls.
The team identified 17 subjects with non-erosive reflux disease and 18 patients with erosive reflux disease.
|High frequency band power was lower in patients with erosive reflux disease|
|Scandanavian Journal of Gastroenterology|
The patients were identified based on typical reflux symptoms, endoscopic findings, and 24-hour esophageal pH.
Spectral analysis of heart rate variability was performed to calculate the low-frequency band, the high-frequency band, and the low/high frequency ratio.
The researchers found no significant differences in age, gender, body mass index, or current tobacco use among the reflux patients and controls.
The Helicobacter pylori status and severity of reflux symptoms were similar between the 2 groups.
The high frequency band power was significantly lower in patients with erosive reflux disease than in non-erosive reflux disease patients and controls.
Low-frequency band power and low/high frequency ratio were both lower in the non-erosive reflux disease patients vs with erosive reflux disease and controls.
The researchers observed no statistically significant correlation between any heart rate variability parameter and symptom severity score in either the reflux group.
Dr Chen's team commented, “Patients with erosive reflux disease and non-erosive reflux disease display a similar degree of symptom severity.”
“However, the pattern of autonomic function appears to differ between non-erosive reflux disease and erosive reflux disease.”