Acid and Non-Acid Reflux Patterns in Patients with Erosive Esophagitis and Non-Erosive Reflux Disease (NERD): A Study Using Intraluminal Impedance Monitoring

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Abstract

Background

Non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) and erosive esophagitis (EE) are the most common phenotypic presentations of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Aim

To assess acid and non-acid reflux patterns in patients with EE and NERD using combined esophageal pH-impedance monitoring.

Methods

A total of 26 GERD patients off acid-suppressive medication and ten healthy volunteers (HV) underwent upper endoscopy and 24-h pH-impedance monitoring. Analysis of the pH-impedance signals included total reflux time, number of reflux episodes according to gas–liquid composition, and pH (acid, non-acid).

Results

EE was identified in 13 patients and NERD in 13 patients. Pathologic acid reflux was found in 92.3 and 69.2% of patients with EE and NERD, respectively (P = 0.15). When compared to HV, EE patients and NERD patients showed a higher incidence of acid (P = 0.002 and P < 0.001, EE vs. HV and NERD vs. HV, respectively) and non-acid reflux episodes (P = 0.03 and P = 0.001, EE vs. HV and NERD vs. HV, respectively). Mean reflux times, as assessed by both pH-metry and impedance monitoring, and incidence of acid and non-acid reflux episodes were similar in EE and NERD patients. In the supine position, however, EE patients showed a higher incidence of acid (P = 0.048) and liquid reflux episodes (P = 0.07).

Conclusion

Whereas EE patients have more acid reflux episodes in the supine position than NERD patients, patients with EE and NERD have similar non-acid reflux patterns. This observation lends support to the notion that non-acid reflux is less damaging to the esophageal mucosa than acid reflux.

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