Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a common cause of noncardiac chest pain in a country with a low prevalence of reflux esophagitis

Dig Dis Sci. 1998 Sep;43(9):1991-7. doi: 10.1023/a:1018842811123.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease is believed to be uncommon in the East. This study aimed to determine if such a condition was a significant cause of noncardiac chest pain in Singapore. Eighty consecutive patients with recurrent chest pain, who had cardiac and other obvious causes excluded, underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy, standard manometry, acid perfusion test, and prolonged ambulatory pH and pressure monitoring. Endoscopic esophagitis, positive acid perfusion tests, pathologic reflux, and positive chest pain-reflux correlation were detected in 7/80 (8.8%), 11/70 (15.7%), 14/61 (23.0%), and 12/25 (48.0%) patients, respectively. Among those with pathologic reflux, endoscopic esophagitis was present in only two (14.3%). Overall, 32 (40%) patients had gastroesophageal reflux disease. Esophageal motility disorder, alone or in association with gastroesophageal reflux disease, was demonstrated in only five (6.3%) patients. Our results confirmed western reports that gastroesophageal reflux disease was a common cause of noncardiac chest pain, whereas motility disorder was an infrequent cause of such pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chest Pain / etiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gastric Acid
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Perfusion
  • Prevalence
  • Singapore / epidemiology