Background and Aims: The occurrence of reflux disease seems to be rising in the United States. The aim of the present study was to follow the time trends of hospitalization for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other esophageal disease during the past 4 decades.
Methods: US hospital utilization data were available for individual years from 1970 to 2010 through the National Hospital Discharge Survey. Esophageal diagnoses were stratified by their ninth revision of the International Classification of Diseases codes. Annual hospitalizations were expressed as rates per 100,000 living US population.
Results: GERD was by far the most common esophageal disorder resulting in hospitalization. However, in only 5% of instances did GERD-related diagnoses constitute the primary cause of hospitalization. Between 1970 and 2010 the rates of GERD-related hospitalizations increased in an exponential manner almost 10-fold. This rise affected both sex and all age groups alike. A 3-fold rise was noted in hospitalizations for esophageal adenocarcinoma. Other esophageal diagnoses, such as achalasia, dyskinesia, or stricture were characterized by falling or stable trends.
Conclusions: US hospitalization data show a continued exponential rise in the occurrence of GERD without any signs of leveling off. These trends are likely to represent ongoing changes in the underlying incidence and prevalence of the disease.