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Revista Colombiana de Gastroenterologia

Print version ISSN 0120-9957


HANI DE ARDILA, Albis. Diagnostic tests in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Rev Col Gastroenterol [online]. 2009, vol.24, n.2, pp.210-222. ISSN 0120-9957.

The true prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is difficult to establish despite that an estimated 11% of the U.S. population experiencing heartburn daily or 30% every three days (1), perhaps due to that the disease can cause many symptoms, both typical and atypical as heartburn or chest pain, among others. Multiple techniques for measuring reflux have been used, and many authors (1-3) have asked why this situation, possibly because the techniques measure and quantify the basic pathophysiologic problem disease, ie the time of exposure of the esophagus distal to the gastric juice, because the measures are quantitatively related to the degree of esophageal mucosal injury, or because the episodes of exposure to gastric juice correlated with the patient’s symptoms. As said Richter (4) "many times these studies are unnecessary because the history is sufficiently revealing to identify the presence of GERD. But the clinician must decide which test you choose to carry a diagnosis of a reliable, timely and cost-effective". But we cannot rely on the presence of symptoms to diagnosis, because we incur the overdiagnosis in a considerable number of individuals, the sensitivity set for the typical symptoms as heartburn is 68% and specificity was 63% (2), which leads us to conclude that atypical symptoms should be investigated as they may relate to functional dyspepsia rather than GERD. It is also clear that the severity and frequency of symptoms in any way correlates with the presence or absence of esophagitis, patients with erosive esophagitis are more severe disease and increased risk of developing complications. The persistent exposure of the esophagus to gastric juice does not cause mucosal injury in all individuals, therefore, it is possible to define the disease by the presence of mucosal injury, while endoscopy is able to define the mucosal injury caused by the reflux can also lead to false conclusions, such as those patients with symptoms of GERD who have no mucosal injury, do not have GERD (4-6).

Keywords : Monitoring; reflux; heartburn; regurgitation; Barrett.

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