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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1987 Feb;135(2):327-32.

Gastroesophageal reflux in patients with asthma and chronic bronchitis.


To determine the relationship between gastroesophageal (GE) reflux and pulmonary disease, we studied 21 asthmatics, 30 chronic bronchitics, 6 patients with GE reflux and no pulmonary symptoms, and 10 control subjects; GE reflux was diagnosed by pH monitoring and GE scintiscanning. Frequency of GE reflux in the asthmatics was 57%; in the chronic bronchitics it was 56%. Pulmonary function tests did not show any differences between patients with or without reflux. The GE reflux episodes were more numerous but shorter in asthmatics than in chronic bronchitics. Patients with digestive symptoms alone were no different from chronic bronchitics with respect to reflux. The mechanism whereby reflux triggers pulmonary problems was investigated using the following 2 tests: scintiscan for pulmonary aspiration, and esophageal acid infusion (0.1N HCl). Six pulmonary aspirations were detected. Only asthmatics, with or without reflux, showed any significant variations in maximal expiratory flow at 50% and 25% of VC after HCl infusion. Thus, our results show that asthmatics differ from chronic bronchitics by the characteristics of their reflux.

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