Prevalence and clinical spectrum of gastroesophageal reflux: a population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota

Gastroenterology. 1997 May;112(5):1448-56. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(97)70025-8.


Background & aims: Gastroesophageal reflux is considered a common condition, but detailed population-based data on reflux in the United States are lacking. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and clinical spectrum of gastroesophageal reflux in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

Methods: A reliable and valid self-report questionnaire was mailed to an age- and sex-stratified random sample of 2200 Olmsted County residents aged 25-74 years.

Results: The prevalence per 100 of heartburn and/or acid regurgitation experienced at least weekly was 19.8 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 17.7-21.9). Heartburn and acid regurgitation were associated with noncardiac chest pain (odds ratio [OR], 4.2; 95% CI, 2.9-6.0), dysphagia (OR, 4.7; 95% CI, 2.9-7.4), dyspepsia (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.9-5.0), and globus sensation (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.0-3.6) but not with asthma, hoarseness, bronchitis, or a history of pneumonia. Among subjects with reflux symptoms, 1.0% reported an episode of hematemesis and 1.3% had a past esophageal dilatation.

Conclusions: Symptoms of reflux are common among white men and women who are 25-74 years of age. Heartburn and acid regurgitation are significantly associated with chest pain, dysphagia, dyspepsia, and globus sensation. The percentage of patients reporting complications is low, but the absolute number is probably considerable given the high prevalence of the condition in the community.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chest Pain / complications
  • Community Medicine*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / complications
  • Hematemesis / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Prevalence
  • Respiration Disorders / complications
  • Surveys and Questionnaires