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Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Apr;100(4):759-65.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease in a low-income region in Turkey.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Public Health and Anesthesiology, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey.



Detailed population-based data regarding the prevalence and symptom profile of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in underdeveloped and developing Caucasian countries are lacking. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and clinical spectrum of GERD in a low-income region in Turkey.


We used a previously validated reflux questionnaire, which was translated into Turkish and culturally adapted. The questionnaire was applied to 630 randomly selected participants greater than 20 yr old living in a population of 8,857 adults, with a low mean income of 75 dollars/person/month. The reliability and reproducibility of the questionnaire were calculated using the kappa statistic (test-retest). Endoscopy and/or 24-h intraesophageal pH monitoring were used to ascertain its validity in identifying patients with reflux.


The prevalence of GERD symptoms was 10% for heartburn, 15.6% for regurgitation, and 20% for either symptom experienced at least weekly (95% CI). Heartburn and regurgitation were associated with noncardiac chest pain (37.3%), dysphagia (35.7%), dyspepsia (42.1%), odynophagia (35.7%), globus, hoarseness, cough, hiccup, nausea, vomiting, belching, and NSAID use, but not with body mass index in both frequent and occasional symptom groups. The prevalence of heartburn symptoms, but not regurgitation, increased significantly with age.


The prevalence of GERD in a low-income population in Turkey was similar to that of developed countries, although with a different symptom profile, namely, a lower incidence of heartburn and a higher incidence of regurgitation and dyspepsia. These findings support the contention that there are a large number of patients worldwide in underdeveloped nations with poorly recognized and largely undertreated GERD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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