Objective: To estimate the incidence rate of patients with dyspepsia in general practice, related to age, gender and dwelling and to classify the patients into dyspepsia subgroups.
Design: In a background population of 123,610 persons under the National Health Insurance System a systematic, prospective registration of dyspepsia patients consulting in general practice was done. Each patient was subject to a structured interview covering 18 dyspepsia symptoms and six alarm symptoms. A diagnostic chart was used to classify the patients into subgroups.
Setting: General practice: 93 general practitioners in 63 centres in Denmark.
Patients: Patients consulting the general practitioner with dyspepsia as their main complaint.
Results: 4215 dyspepsia patients were registered within 1 year. The annual incidence rate of dyspepsia was 3.4%. Alarm symptoms were present in 11.7% of the patients. The highest incidence rates were related to middle age, female gender and rural dwelling. Of these 34% had dysmotility-like, 30% had reflux-like, 17% ulcer-like and 3% uncharacteristic dyspepsia, while 16% were classified into two or more groups. Dysmotility-like dyspepsia was predominant in women and reflux-like dyspepsia was predominant in men.
Conclusions: Within 1 year 34 patients out of 1000 will seek medical advise in general practice with a new episode of dyspepsia. Based on the registration of symptoms 28 of 34 can be classified into a single subgroup of dyspepsia; 4 of 34 patients will present with one or more alarm symptom.