Background: The RANGE (Retrospective ANalysis of GastroEsophageal reflux disease [GERD]) study assessed differences among patients consulting a primary care physician due to GERD-related reasons in terms of: symptoms, diagnosis and management, response to treatment, and effects on productivity, costs and health-related quality of life. This subanalysis of RANGE determined the impact of GERD on productivity in work and daily life.
Methods: RANGE was conducted at 134 primary care sites across six European countries (Germany, Greece, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK). All subjects (aged >or=18 years) who consulted with their primary care physician over a 4-month identification period were screened retrospectively, and those consulting at least once for GERD-related reasons were identified (index visit). From this population, a random sample was selected to enter the study and attended a follow-up appointment, during which the impact of GERD on productivity while working (absenteeism and presenteeism) and in daily life was evaluated using the self-reported Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire for patients with GERD (WPAI-GERD).
Results: Overall, 373,610 subjects consulted with their primary care physician over the 4-month identification period, 12,815 for GERD-related reasons (3.4%); 2678 randomly selected patients attended the follow-up appointment. Average absenteeism due to GERD was highest in Germany (3.2 hours/week) and lowest in the UK (0.4 hours/week), with an average of up to 6.7 additional hours/week lost due to presenteeism in Norway. The average monetary impact of GERD-related work absenteeism and presenteeism were substantial in all countries (from euro55/week per employed patient in the UK to euro273/patient in Sweden). Reductions in productivity in daily life of up to 26% were observed across the European countries.
Conclusion: GERD places a significant burden on primary care patients, in terms of work absenteeism and presenteeism and in daily life. The resulting costs to the local economy may be substantial. Improved management of GERD could be expected to lessen the impact of GERD on productivity and reduce costs.