Send to

Choose Destination
Dig Dis Sci. 2003 Sep;48(9):1813-7.

Comparison of a salivary/sputum pepsin assay with 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring for detection of gastric reflux into the proximal esophagus, oropharynx, and lung.

Author information

Section of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether measurement of salivary/sputum pepsin could be used as a surrogate marker for detecting gastroesophageal reflux using 24-hr esophageal pH monitoring as the gold standard. Patients with gastroesophageal reflux symptoms underwent simultaneous 24-hr esophageal pH monitoring and collection of saliva and sputum samples for pepsin measurement using a recently developed assay. In all, 16 patients provided 19 positive (10.6%) and 161 negative pepsin assays. The mean pH values for the positive pepsin samples were lower then the negative samples at both the proximal [5.34 (95% CI, 4.94-5.75) vs 6.12 (95% CI, 6.03-6.20; P < 0.01)] and distal [4.97 (95% CI, 4.61-5.33) vs 6.03 (95% CI, 5.92-6.15; P < 0.01)] pH probes. Proximal esophageal reflux was not detected in patients who had a negative pepsin assay (N = 12); in contrast, proximal esophageal reflux was documented in three of four patients with a positive assay. In conclusion, detection of pepsin in the saliva and/or sputum may provide a noninvasive method to test for the proximal reflux of gastric contents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center