Diagnosis and management of non-erosive reflux disease--the Vevey NERD Consensus Group

Digestion. 2009;80(2):74-88. doi: 10.1159/000219365. Epub 2009 Jun 17.


Background/aims: Although considerable information exists regarding gastroesophageal reflux disease with erosions, much less is known of non-erosive reflux disease (NERD), the dominant form of reflux disease in the developed world.

Methods: An expert international group using the modified Delphi technique examined the quality of evidence and established levels of agreement relating to different aspects of NERD. Discussion focused on clinical presentation, assessment of clinical outcome, pathobiological mechanisms, and clinical strategies for diagnosis and management.

Results: Consensus was reached on 85 specific statements. NERD was defined as a condition with reflux symptoms in the absence of mucosal lesions or breaks detected by conventional endoscopy, and without prior effective acid-suppressive therapy. Evidence supporting this diagnosis included: responsiveness to acid suppression therapy, abnormal reflux monitoring or the identification of specific novel endoscopic and histological findings. Functional heartburn was considered a separate entity not related to acid reflux. Proton pump inhibitors are the definitive therapy for NERD, with efficacy best evaluated by validated quality-of-life instruments. Adjunctive antacids or H(2) receptor antagonists are ineffective, surgery seldom indicated.

Conclusions: Little is known of the pathobiology of NERD. Further elucidation of the mechanisms of mucosal and visceral hypersensitivity is required to improve NERD management.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index