Aims: To determine the impact of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) on the quality of life, to assess changes in the quality of life during treatment with esomeprazole and to define factors that can predict these changes.
Methods: Patients with GERD (n=6215) were included in a prospective cohort study (ProGERD). All patients underwent endoscopy and received esomeprazole. At baseline and after 2 weeks of treatment, symptoms and quality of life were assessed. Factors that influenced changes in the quality of life were determined by multiple regression analyses.
Results: At baseline, the quality of life in GERD patients was lower than that in the general population, and was similar to that in patients after acute coronary events. No differences in symptoms or quality of life were observed between the subgroups of patients with non-erosive GERD, erosive GERD and Barrett's oesophagus. After treatment with esomeprazole, the symptoms and quality of life were improved in all subscales within 2 weeks (P<0.001). The mean score of the disease-specific quality of life instrument (Quality of Life in Reflux and Dyspepsia Patients) increased from 4.6 to 6.2 points, representing a highly relevant clinical improvement. The generic quality of life (SF-36) reached levels similar to those in the general population, but, again, no difference was found between the three different subgroups of GERD patients. The main factors associated with an improvement in the quality of life after treatment were symptom relief, severe erosive reflux disease, absence of extra-oesophageal disorders, avoidance of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug intake and positive Helicobacter pylori status.
Conclusions: GERD causes a significant impairment in the quality of life that can be attenuated or normalized within a time period as short as 2 weeks by treatment with esomeprazole. These findings were similar across the whole GERD patient spectrum.