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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Oct 15;24(8):1241-6.

A prospective 1-year follow-up study in patients with functional or organic dyspepsia: changes in gastrointestinal symptoms, mental distress and fear of serious illness.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital, PO Box 1777, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland.



Psychosocial factors are common among patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). Whether they affect the course of the disease remains unresolved.


To evaluate whether reassuring investigations of primary care patients with functional dyspepsia (FD) and organic dyspepsia (OD) influence gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and psychological factors, and to assess whether these changes are correlated.


Four hundred consecutive patients with dyspepsia were referred for thorough examinations. Patients completed questionnaires screening symptoms at baseline and on 1-year follow-up.


At baseline, there was no difference in GI symptoms, prevalence of mental distress or fear of serious illness between patients with FD or OD. On follow-up, the patients with FD had more GI symptoms, but there was no difference in mental distress or fear of serious illness. Relevant GI symptom reduction related to alleviation of mental distress (53.4% vs. 20.5%, P < 0.001) and fear of serious illness (56.5% vs. 23.7%, P = 0.002), but reached statistical significance only in patients with OD.


Gastrointestinal symptoms in FD patients are long lasting compared with those with organic diseases. Reassuring investigations could lower mental distress and fear of serious illness in these patients. Psychological factor change correlates with the change in GI symptom severity and is not specific to FGIDs.

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