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GERD prevalence raised even in mild–moderate COPD, bronchiectasis

Researchers from Australia have found that the rate of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is twice as high in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchiectasis as in people without lung disease.

Furthermore, the researchers found evidence for pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents among these patients which, if confirmed in future studies, could support the hypothesis that this contributes to lung disease severity. The study participants were 27 patients with mild or moderate COPD and 27 with moderate or severe bronchiectasis as well as 17 controls.

Ambulatory 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring showed that 37% of COPD patients and 40% of bronchiectasis patients had reflux compared with 18% of controls. All controls with GERD had asymptomatic distal reflux, while eight COPD patients had distal reflux only and two had proximal and distal reflux. In bronchiectasis, seven patients had distal reflux only, three had proximal and distal reflux, and two had proximal reflux only.

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