The prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease in adult asthmatics

Chest. 2004 Nov;126(5):1490-4. doi: 10.1378/chest.126.5.1490.


Background: Asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often coexist. However, the results of the studies investigating the prevalence of GERD among patients with asthma vary greatly.

Study objective: To investigate the prevalence of GERD in adult patients with asthma.

Subjects and methods: The basic study population consisted of 2,225 asthmatic patients who were treated in six specialist-headed hospitals during 1 year. From the common computer-based discharge register, every 14th patient was randomly selected for the study. Ninety of the 149 contacted patients (60%) agreed to participate in the study. Twenty-four-hour esophageal pH monitoring was performed on all patients.

Results: GERD was found in 32 of the patients (36%). Eight of these patients (25%) were free from classical reflux symptoms. Forty-seven of the 90 patients (52%) presented with typical reflux symptoms. Twenty-four of these patients (51%) were found to have abnormal acidic reflux.

Conclusions: According to the current study, one third of adult patients with asthma have GERD. These patients often do not have typical reflux symptoms. However, the presence of typical reflux symptoms in an asthmatic patient does not seem to guarantee the presence of abnormal acidic reflux.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / complications*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence