Effects of asymptomatic proximal and distal gastroesophageal reflux on asthma severity

Emily DiMango, Janet T. Holbrook, Erin Simpson, Joan Reibman, Joel Richter, Surinder Narula, Nancy Prusakowski, John G. Mastronarde, Robert A. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Rationale: Silent gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is common in patients with asthma, but it is unclear whether GER is associated with worse asthma symptoms or reduced lung function. Objectives: To determine in patients with poorly controlled asthma, whether proximal or distal esophageal reflux is associated with asthma severity, symptoms, physiology, or functional status. Methods: Baseline asthma characteristics were measured in patients with asthma enrolled in a multicenter trial assessing the effectiveness of esomeprazole on asthma control. All participants underwent 24-hour esophageal pH probe monitoring. Lung function, methacholine responsiveness, asthma symptoms, and quality-of-life scores were compared in subjects with and without GER. Measurements and Main Results: Of 304 participants with probe recordings, 53% had reflux. Of 242 participants with recordings of proximal pH, 38% had proximal reflux. There was no difference in need for short-acting bronchodilators, nocturnal awakenings, dose of inhaled corticosteroid, use of long-acting b-agonists, lung function, or methacholine reactivity between individuals with and without proximal or distal GER. Participants with GER reported more use of oral corticosteroids and had worse asthma quality of life and subjects with proximal GERhad significantly worse asthma quality of life and health-related quality of life compared with participants without GER. Conclusions: Asymptomatic GER is not associated with distinguishing asthma symptoms or lower lung function in individuals with suboptimal asthma control who are using inhaled corticosteroids. Patients with proximal reflux report significantly worse asthma and health-related quality of life despite lack of physiologic impairment or increase in asthma symptoms. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00069823).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-816
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009


  • Asthma
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Lung function
  • Nocturnal symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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