Background: The epidemiology of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has yet to be investigated using the symptomatic threshold criteria recommended by the Montreal Definition. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of symptom-defined GERD across five regions of China, and to investigate variables associated with GERD.
Methods: A representative sample of 18 000 adults (aged 18-80 years) were selected equally from rural and urban areas in each region (n = 1800). According to the Montreal Definition, GERD is present when mild symptoms of heartburn and/or regurgitation occur on >or=2 days a week, or moderate-to-severe symptoms of heartburn and/or regurgitation occur on >or=1 day a week.
Results: In total, 16 091 participants completed the survey (response rate: 89.4%) and 16 078 responses were suitable for analysis. Applying the Montreal criteria, the prevalence of symptom-defined GERD was 3.1% and varied significantly (p < 0.001) among the five regions (from 1.7% in Guangzhou to 5.1% in Wuhan) and between rural and urban populations (3.8% vs 2.4%). Factors significantly associated with GERD included living in a rural area and a family history of gastrointestinal diseases.
Conclusions: This population-based survey found that the prevalence of symptom-defined GERD in China was 3.1%, which is lower than that found in Western countries.