Objectives: The aims of this study were: 1) to compare the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE) to that of patients with GERD who did not have BE; 2) to compare HRQL of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients to that of normative data for the US general population; and 3) to examine the impact of GERD symptom frequency and severity on HRQL.
Methods: The SF-36 and a validated GERD questionnaire were administered to 107 patients with biopsy-proven BE and to 104 patients with GERD but no BE by endoscopy. Frequent symptoms were defined as symptoms that occurred at least once weekly. Severity of symptoms was rated on a scale from 1 to 4 (mild to very severe).
Results: In all, 85% of the GERD patients and 82% of BE patients completed the questionnaires. There was no difference in the scores of the eight subscales of the SF-36 between BE patients and those with GERD but without BE (p > 0.05). However, both groups scored below average on all subscales of the SF-36 compared to published US norms for an age- and gender-matched group. Using multivariable linear regression, the social functioning subscale of the SF-36 correlated with the presence of heartburn or acid regurgitation, severity of acid regurgitation, frequency of heartburn, frequency of acid regurgitation, and number of comorbidities. Similarly, the physical functioning subscale correlated with age, frequency of heartburn, and number of comorbidities. The bodily pain subscale correlated with the frequency of heartburn and number of comorbidities. The bodily pain subscale correlated with the frequency of heartburn and the severity of dysphagia, whereas the role emotional subscale correlated with the frequency of heartburn and the presence of dysphagia.
Conclusions: Although there were no differences in HRQL between BE and GERD patients, both groups scored below average on the subscales of the SF-36 compared to normal controls. GERD symptom frequency and severity were associated with bodily pain and with impaired social, emotional, and physical functioning, suggesting a profound impact on daily living.