This report summarizes the conclusions and recommendations of a panel of gastroenterologists practising in the Asia-Pacific region. The group recognized that although gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is less common and milder in endoscopic severity in Asia than in the West, there is nevertheless data to suggest an increasing frequency of the disease. During a 2-day workshop, the evidence for key issues in the diagnosis and clinical strategies for the management of the disease was evaluated, following which the recommendations were made and debated. The consensus report was presented at the Asia-Pacific Digestive Week 2003 in Singapore for ratification. Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is the gold standard for the diagnosis of erosive GERD. There is no gold standard for the diagnosis of non-erosive GERD (NERD). Diagnosis therefore relies on symptoms, a positive 24-h pH study or a response to a course of proton pump inhibitor (PPI) treatment. The goals of treatment for GERD are to heal esophagitis, relieve symptoms, maintain the patient free of symptoms, improve quality of life and prevent complications. The PPI are the most effective medical treatment. Following initial treatment, on-demand therapy may be effective in some patients with NERD or mild (GI) erosive esophagitis. Anti-reflux surgery by a competent surgeon could achieve a similar outcome, although there is an operative mortality of 0.1-0.8%. The decision is dependent on the patient's preference and the availability of surgical expertise. Currently, endoscopic treatment should be performed only in the context of a clinical trial. Treatment of patients with typical GERD symptoms without alarm features in primary care could begin with PPI for 2 weeks followed by a further 4 weeks before going to on-demand therapy.