When gastro-esophageal reflux is causing symptoms or lesions in the esophagus, this is referred to as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD can manifest itself through typical symptoms or may lead to extra-esophageal symptoms.
Extra-esophageal manifestations of GERD gained increasing attention over the last decade, especially respiratory disorders, because of the prevalent co-occurrence with GERD.
The role of GERD in the pathogenesis of respiratory disorders has become a topic of intense discussion.
Professor Tack and colleagues from Belgium provide an overview of the current knowledge on the role of GERD in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
PubMed was searched for relevant articles using the keywords: GERD, asthma, COPD, prevalence, treatment.
|Prevalence of GERD in asthma range from 30% to 90%|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Case reports were excluded, only English language articles were considered.
The team found that estimates for the prevalence of GERD in asthma range from 30% to 90%, compared to an average of 24% in controls.
In COPD patients, the researchers observed that the prevalence of GERD ranges from 19% to 78% compared to an average of 18% in controls.
These data indicate an increased prevalence of GERD in patients with asthma and COPD, although causality is not established and GERD treatment yielded inconsistent effects.
Literature supports GERD as a risk factor for COPD-exacerbations and a predictor of the ‘frequent-exacerbator’–phenotype.
Professor Tack's team concludes, "Despite the high prevalence of GERD in asthma and COPD, a causal link is lacking."
"The results of anti-reflux therapy on pulmonary outcome are inconsistent and contradictory."
"Future studies will need to identify subgroups of asthmatics and COPD patients that may benefit from anti-reflux therapy."