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Swiss Med Wkly. 2012 Mar 22;142:w13544. doi: 10.4414/smw.2012.13544.

Extraesophageal manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease: cough, asthma, laryngitis, chest pain.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Center for Swallowing and Esophageal Disorders, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


GER is a common condition affecting many patients in different parts of the world. It usually presents with the classic manifestations of heartburn and regurgitation; however, in some it can also present with extraesophageal manifestations such as chronic cough, laryngitis, asthma or chest pain. Commonly employed diagnostic tests such as EGD and ambulatory pH or impedance monitoring in GER, are less useful in extraesophageal syndromes due to their poor sensitivity and specificity. In contrast, empiric trials of PPI's are shown to be cost effective; however, patients may require long-term treatment to establish effectiveness. Diagnostic testing with pH and impedance monitoring are commonly reserved for patients with partial or poor response to the initial treatment with PPI's. Poor response to PPI therapy may be an important indicator for non-GER causes for patients' symptoms and should initiate a search for other potential causes.

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