Objective: Mixed reflux of acid and duodenal contents frequently occurs in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The aim of this study was to establish the contribution of acid and duodenal gastroesophageal reflux (DGER) to symptoms in patients with presumed GERD.
Methods: A total of 72 patients (37 women), mean age 45 yr (+/-2 yr), underwent 24-h ambulatory pH and Bilitec monitoring. Patients pressed a marker button when experiencing typical symptoms. For each symptom episode, minimal pH and maximal bilirubin optical density in a 2- or 4-min interval were calculated. For each patient, the symptom index (SI) and symptom-association probability for acid and for bile reflux were determined.
Results: A total of 544 symptom episodes were identified. Using a 2-min interval, 28% were associated with acid reflux, 9% with DGER, and 12% with mixed reflux. No significant difference was found when a 4-min interval was used. A positive SI for acid reflux was present in 21% of the patients and for DGER in 14%. All patients with a positive SI for DGER had also a positive SI for acid reflux. A positive symptom-association probability for acid reflux was present in 22% of the patients, for DGER in 7% of the patients, and for mixed reflux in 10% of the patients.
Conclusions: Symptom episodes in patients with presumed GERD are more related to acid reflux than to DGER. DGER does not play a major role in producing typical esophageal symptoms.