Background: GER is common in patients with asthma and some, although not all, studies have shown benefit from identification and treatment of GER.
Methods: patients with persistent symptoms after optimisation of asthma therapy underwent pH monitoring and adjustment of GER therapy based on the results of repeated pH monitoring. Gastrointestinal symptom scores and asthma therapy requirements were recorded.
Results: Over a 2 year period, 51 patients with a definite diagnosis of asthma underwent pH monitoring with GER being identified in 32 (63%). Normal oesophageal acid exposure was achieved in 11 patients, 7 requiring a daily PPI dose greater than 20 mg; 8 patients had persisting abnormal oesophageal acid exposure (OAE) despite daily PPI doses up to 80 mg. 13 patients declined further pH studies. 8 (73%) patients with normalisation of OAE had meaningful reductions in long term asthma therapy with 2 patients stopping and 2 patients reducing long term oral corticosteroids and 4 others halving the dose of inhaled corticosteroids. No patient who had persisting GER had asthma therapy reduced, neither did any of the group of patients in whom GER was not identified.
Conclusion: Tailoring GER therapy with repeated pH studies had a major impact in a subgroup of patients, greater than any other intervention employed in our clinic over the same period. This uncontrolled data adds to the evidence that effective management of GER reduces asthma symptomatology and allows therapy to be reduced in a subgroup of patients with difficult to control asthma.