Prevalence of Dyspepsia in Individuals With Gastroesophageal Reflux–Type Symptoms in the Community: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux are highly prevalent in the general population, but they are believed to be separate entities. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence of dyspepsia in individuals with gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS), and to quantify overlap between the disorders.

METHODS:

We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and EMBASE Classic databases to identify population-based studies reporting the prevalence of dyspepsia and GERS in adults, defined using specific symptom-based criteria or based on answers to questionnaires. We calculated pooled prevalence values, according to study location and criteria used to define weekly GERS or dyspepsia, as well as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs. The degree of overlap between dyspepsia and GERS was examined.

RESULTS:

Of 14,132 papers evaluated, 79 reported prevalence of weekly GERS. Nineteen of these study populations, comprising 111,459 participants, also reported the proportion of individuals with dyspepsia. The prevalence of dyspepsia in individuals with weekly GERS was 43.9% (95% CI, 35.1%–52.9%). The pooled OR for dyspepsia in individuals with weekly GERS, compared with those without, was 6.94 (95% CI, 4.33%–11.1%). The OR for dyspepsia in individuals with weekly GERS was significantly higher in all geographical regions studied and for all diagnostic criteria. The pooled degree of overlap between dyspepsia and GERS was 25.9% (95% CI, 19.9%–32.4%).

CONCLUSIONS:

The odds of dyspepsia in individuals with weekly GERS is almost 7-fold that of individuals without GERS; dyspepsia and GERS overlap in more than 25% of individuals. Reasons for this remain speculative, but might include shared pathophysiological mechanisms or residual confounding factors. However, patients with GERS should be questioned about coexistent dyspepsia, to optimize treatment approaches.

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