Prevalence, pathophysiology, and treatment of patients with asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease

Mayo Clin Proc. 2000 Oct;75(10):1055-63. doi: 10.4065/75.10.1055.


About one third of the US adult population experiences symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux on a monthly basis. Asthma is present in about 5% of the same population. This article reviews and summarizes the literature in the following areas: (1) prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in asthmatic patients based on clinical symptoms, endoscopic esophagitis, and 24-hour ambulatory esophageal pH recordings; (2) proposed pathophysiologic mechanisms linking the 2 diseases; and (3) medical and surgical treatment trial results of antireflux therapy for asthmatic patients. Asthmatic patients appear to have an increased prevalence of GERD symptoms and 24-hour esophageal acid exposure. The clinical management of these patients remains controversial. Common management approaches to GERD in asthmatic patients include medical therapy with a proton pump inhibitor and/or antireflux surgery, which improve asthma symptoms in many patients but minimally affect pulmonary function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antacids / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / complications
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / physiopathology
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / therapy
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Gastric Acid / physiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / drug therapy
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Prevalence
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors


  • Antacids
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors