Dr Steve Niemcryk and colleagues from Delaware documented ambulatory visits associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in the USA.
The researchers analyzed sample data from nearly 80,000 patients captured by the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 1998 to 2001.
Basic demographics of patients with GERD and factors associated with each visit were assessed.
The research team noted that approximately 38.5 million of 2.7 billion adult outpatient visits in the USA during the study period were GERD-related.
The researchers found that GERD-related visits increased by 47% from 1998 to 2001.
Most GERD-related visits were by women with an average age of 56 years, compared with patients without GERD, who were also women and younger.
The team observed that patients with GERD were more likely to have multiple reasons for medical visits that non-GERD patients.
The researchers also found that 38% had multiple diagnoses per medical visit versus 48% in non-GERD patients.
Utilization of data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey reveals that GERD-related visits increased annually during the study period.
Dr Niemcryk's team concludes, “Patients with GERD are more likely to see a physician if they have concomitant medical conditions, making GERD a condition that is very likely untreated in a high percentage of individuals.”