The prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS) in the population is high; however, data on long-term follow-up and incidence of GERS in the population are sparse. This study describes the long-term natural history of GERS, the related health-care use, and quality of life in a population followed up for 5 years.
A total of 10,000 randomly selected inhabitants, 40-65 years old, received, as a part of a controlled trial ofHelicobacter pyloriscreening and treatment (control group), a mailed questionnaire regarding demographic data, gastrointestinal symptoms (the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS)), and quality of life (the Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36)) at inclusion and after 5 years. GERS was defined as a mean score ≥2 in the reflux dimension in the GSRS. Information on use of health-care resources was drawn from the questionnaires and registers.
In all, 6,781 individuals answered the first questionnaire and 5-year symptom data were complete for 5,578 (82.3%) of them. The mean age at inclusion was 52.4 years, 48% were men. At inclusion, 22% reported GERS. During follow-up, symptoms resolved in 43%, of whom 10% received acid inhibitory treatment at 5-year follow-up. The incidence of GERS was 2.2% per year. Health-care use during follow-up was significantly higher in individuals with GERS at baseline than in individuals without GERS. Quality of life at 5-year follow-up was lower in individuals with GERS at inclusion than in individuals without GERS at inclusion.
GERS are prevalent, long lasting, and associated with an impaired quality of life and substantial health-care use.
Am J Gastroenterol 2009; 104:2394-2403; doi:10.1038/ajg.2009.391; published online 21 July 2009
1Department of Medical Gastroenterology S, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark. Correspondence: Jane Møller Hansen, MD, PhD, Department Medical gastroenterology S, Odense University Hospital, Odense C 5000, Denmark. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 6 March 2009; accepted 5 June 2009