The goal of this study was to determine the relationship of reflux with gastroparesis (Gp), looking both at symptoms and objective testing.
Gp patients often experience gastroesophageal reflux symptoms. How the severity of reflux correlates with the severity of Gp is not known.
Patients referred to our academic center with symptoms of Gp completed the Patient Assessment of Upper Gastrointestinal Symptoms, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-15. They underwent 4-hour gastric emptying scintigraphy; and, if indicated, high-resolution esophageal manometry and esophageal pH impedance (EpHI).
Of 755 patients from July 2013 to May 2018, 432 had Gp with Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index (GCSI) total score of 3.2±0.1 (mean±SEM) and heartburn/regurgitation subscore of 2.0±0.1. A fourth (27.1%) of all Gp patients had moderate to very severe heartburn/regurgitation symptoms. Heartburn/regurgitation subscore had strong correlation with GSCI total score (r=0.56, P<0.01), and weak correlation with 4-hour gastric retention (r=0.11, P=0.02). In total, 103 Gp patients underwent EpHI monitoring; time esophageal pH<4 had no correlation with heartburn/regurgitation subscore. Less than half (41.7%) of the patients undergoing EpHI had gastroesophageal reflux disease by EpHI. Gp patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease had more severe 4-hour gastric retention, and more frequently had decreased lower esophageal sphincter resting pressure and esophageal motility disorders. Heartburn/regurgitation subscore had moderate correlation with somatic symptoms, and weak correlations with anxiety and depression.
The severity of reflux symptoms in Gp has strong correlation with GCSI total score, weak correlation with gastric retention, and no correlation with esophageal pH monitoring.