Food sensitivity in reflux esophagitis

Gastroenterology. 1978 Aug;75(2):240-3.


We examined 66 patients with pain of possible esophageal origin for sensitivity to intraesophageal infusions of coffee, orange juice, spicy tomato drink, or HCl of varying concentrations as an addendum to their acid infusion (Bernstein) tests. Compared to Berstein-negative subjects, acid-sensitive patients were sensitive to infusion of coffee (P less than 0.01), orange juice (P less than 0.001), and tomato drink (P less than 0.001). Patients were largely insensitive to HCl solutions with a titratable acidity of 1 mEq per liter or less, less than the least acidic food solution tested. However, Berstein-positive patients were still highly sensitive to infusions of coffee, orange juice, and tomato drink adjusted to pH 7 (P less than 0.001). Patients were unable to differentiate symptoms caused by acid or food infusions, and solutions did not differ in the duration of infusion needed either to cause symptoms or to relieve them by saline. We conclude that the pain of esophagitis is nonspecific and can be precipitated by variety of seemingly unrelated substances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coffee / adverse effects
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / complications
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / diagnosis*
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / etiology
  • Female
  • Food / adverse effects*
  • Fruit / adverse effects
  • Heartburn / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vegetables / adverse effects


  • Coffee