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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Jul;20(7):995-1001.

Changing prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux with changing time: longitudinal study in an Asian population.

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Department of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.



The purpose of the present paper was to study previously obtained population-based data on the prevalence of reflux symptoms in a random sample of community adults in Singapore. This sample was re-investigated 5 years later to determine changes in the prevalence of reflux symptoms.


In 1999, 237 (34%) of the original cohort of 696 persons who were interviewed in 1994, were re-interviewed using a validated Gastrointestinal Symptoms Questionnaire. The original cohort was a race-stratified random sample of residents in a Singaporean town. Reflux was defined as heartburn and/or acid regurgitation occurring at least once a month.


Among the 237 respondents (aged 25-89 years; male : female, 49:51; Chinese n = 106, 45%; Malay n = 69, 29%; Indian n = 60, 25%), reflux was reported by 25 respondents, giving a prevalence of 10.5 +/- 2.0%. This compared with the prevalence of 5.5 +/- 1.5% (odds ratio [OR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0-5.2; P = 0.05) among the same 237 respondents in the 1994 survey. Of the 25 subjects who reported reflux in the current survey, 22 (88.0%) did not complain of reflux symptoms in the 1994 survey. The ethnic-adjusted prevalence of reflux in 1999 was estimated to be 9.9 +/- 1.9%. This was an increase above the prevalence in 1994 of 1.6 +/- 1.0% (P = 0.051). The upward trend in the prevalence of reflux was not related to age, smoking, alcohol consumption, or increase in bodyweight.


There is a rising trend of reflux symptoms frequency in the general population of Singapore over a 5-year period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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