Duodenogastric bile reflux is common in cystic fibrosis

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2004 Mar;38(3):312-6. doi: 10.1097/00005176-200403000-00016.


Background: Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) have a high incidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease, but few cases of mucosal injury are reported. Duodenogastric reflux has not been studied in CF but has been suggested to have a pathogenic role in producing alkaline injury to the esophageal mucosa. The aim of this study was to analyze the presence of duodenogastric reflux in patients with CF.

Patients and methods: Ten patients with CF and 7 healthy volunteers participated in the study. Gastroduodenal manometry and intragastric perfusion were performed in all subjects. Gastric perfusate was analyzed for bilirubin and bile acids. Only patients and controls exhibiting normal migrating motor complexes were evaluated.

Results: Eight patients with CF had normal motility recordings and had significantly higher gastric bilirubin levels compared with healthy subjects (P = 0.003). The bilirubin concentration was associated with bile acid regurgitation in five patients with CF. All bile acids were conjugated with a high glycine/taurine ratio and low levels of secondary bile acids. Small amounts of keto bile acids were found in two patients.

Conclusion: The patients with CF had an increased incidence of duodenogastric reflux compared with healthy subjects. The bile acid composition was typical for CF with low levels of secondary bile acids. Although high bile acid concentration was found in the duodenogastric reflux in most patients with CF, the less toxic profile of the bile acids might possibly contribute to the low frequency of Barrett's esophagus in CF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bile Acids and Salts / analysis*
  • Bilirubin / analysis*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Duodenogastric Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Duodenogastric Reflux / etiology
  • Female
  • Gastric Acid / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Bilirubin