Background: Uninvestigated dyspepsia is common in family practice. The prevalence of clinically significant upper gastrointestinal findings (CSFs) in adult uninvestigated dyspepsia patients, and their predictability based on history, is unknown.
Methods: Prompt endoscopy was performed within 10 days of referral, in 1040 adult patients presenting with uninvestigated dyspepsia at 49 Canadian family practitioner centres. Subsequent management strategies during a 6-month follow-up period were determined by the individual family practitioners.
Results: CSFs were identified in 58% (603/1040) of patients. Erosive oesophagitis was most common (43%; N = 451); peptic ulcer was uncommon (5.3%; N = 55). Alarm symptoms were uncommon (2.8%; N = 29). Most patients had at least three dyspepsia symptoms, more than 80% had at least six, and approximately half had eight or more. Based on the dominant symptom, 463 (45%) patients had ulcer-like, 393 (38%) had reflux-like and 184 (18%) had dysmotility-like dyspepsia. The patients' dominant symptom was not predictive of endoscopic findings. Oesophagitis was more common in those with dominant reflux-like symptoms and was the most common finding in all subgroups. The prevalence of gastroduodenal findings was similar in all symptom subgroups. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection (30%; 301/1013) was associated with gastroduodenal findings.
Conclusions: Dyspepsia subclassifications, based on dominant symptom, are of limited value in predicting the presence and nature of CSFs. Oesophagitis was by far the most common diagnosis (43% of patients). CSFs were common in uninvestigated dyspepsia patients and their nature suggests patients could be initially treated effectively, without endoscopy, using empirical acid suppressive therapy.