Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a risk factor for severity of organizing pneumonia

Respiration. 2015;89(2):119-26. doi: 10.1159/000369470. Epub 2015 Jan 28.


Background: The link between organizing pneumonia (OP) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is not well known. There is little evidence in the literature to establish a causal link between GERD and OP.

Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the hypothesis that OP is more severe when it is associated with GERD and that it leads to more frequent relapses.

Methods: In a retrospective study on 44 patients suffering from OP, we compared the clinical, radiological and histological characteristics of 2 groups, 1 composed of patients with GERD (n = 20) and the other of patients without GERD (n = 24).

Results: The GERD group was distinguished by a higher number of patients with migratory alveolar opacities on chest radiography and thoracic computerized tomography (14/20 vs. 9/24; p = 0.03 and 18/20 vs. 13/24; p = 0.01), greater hypoxemia [60 (42-80) vs. 70 (51-112) mm Hg; p = 0.03], greater bronchoalveolar lavage cellularity [0.255 (0.1-1.8) vs. 0.150 (0.05-0.4) g/l; p = 0.035] and more frequent relapses (14/20 vs. 9/24; p = 0.03).

Conclusions: OP associated with GERD is more severe and results in more frequent relapses. Microinhalation of gastric secretions might induce lung inflammation leading to OP and relapse. We suggest that typical symptoms of GERD such as pyrosis should be investigated in OP.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia / complications*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors