Gastroesophageal reflux disease in our asthma patients: the presence of dysphagia can influence pulmonary function

Multidiscip Respir Med. 2012 Dec 17;7(1):53. doi: 10.1186/2049-6958-7-53.


Background: The prevalence of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Turkey is reported as 11.6%. Studies of pulmonary function in asthmatics have demonstrated a correlation between lung resistance and the occurrence of spontaneous gastroesophageal reflux. Few studies have included measures of lung diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide. The aim of this study is to assess whether asthma patients had worse lung function and gas diffusion according to diversity of GERD symptoms they concurrently experienced. The secondary aim of the study is to determine the frequency and different faces of GERD in our asthma patients compared to healthy controls.

Methods: Sixty consecutive asthma patients evaluatd at the pulmonary specialty outpatient clinic were included in the study. The control group included 60 healthy volunteers who had normal pulmonary function and routine laboratory tests. A modified version of a self-reported questionnaire developed by Locke and associates at the Mayo Clinic was conducted face-to-face with consecutive asthma patients and control subjects. Pulmonary function measurements were taken using spirometry. DLCO (mL/dk/mmHg) and DLCO/VA (DLCO adjusted according to alveolar volume) were measured using a single-breath technique. Statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS 17.0 statistical software.

Results: DLCO and DLCO/VA were significantly lower in asthma patients who had dysphagia symptoms. Frequent and significant acid regurgitations were seen in 28.33% (n = 17) of patients in the study group and 6.7% (n = 4) of patients in the control group. Severe, troublesome heartburn symptoms were reported by 28.2% (n = 17) of patients in the study group and 16.7% (n = 10) of subjects in the control group. Dysphagia was detected in 38.3% (n = 23) of all asthma cases and in 1.7% (n = 1) of the subjects in the control group.

Conclusions: There were many faces of gastroesophageal reflux disease in our asthmatic patients. Dysphagia was the only GERD symptom influencing on pulmonary function tests, while gastroesophageal reflux symptoms and nocturnal awakening attacks were common in this study.