Physiology and pathogenesis of gastroesophageal reflux disease

Surg Clin North Am. 2015 Jun;95(3):515-25. doi: 10.1016/j.suc.2015.02.006. Epub 2015 Mar 24.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common problems treated by primary care physicians. Almost 20% of the population in the United States experiences occasional regurgitation, heartburn, or retrosternal pain because of GERD. Reflux disease is complex, and the physiology and pathogenesis are still incompletely understood. However, abnormalities of any one or a combination of the three physiologic processes, namely, esophageal motility, lower esophageal sphincter function, and gastric motility or emptying, can lead to GERD. There are many diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to GERD today, but more studies are needed to better understand this complex disease process.

Keywords: GERD; Gastroesophageal reflux disease; Heartburn; Pathogenesis of GERD; Pathology of GERD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Barrett Esophagus / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / diagnosis
  • Esophagogastric Junction / physiopathology*
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / classification
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / surgery
  • Hernia, Hiatal / classification
  • Hernia, Hiatal / complications
  • Hernia, Hiatal / surgery
  • Humans
  • Manometry