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World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Nov 7;14(41):6388-94.

Chronic gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life in the Korean population.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kangnam St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, #137-040, 505, Banpo-Dong, Seocho-Gu, Seoul 137-040, South Korea.



To evaluate the prevalence of chronic gastrointestinal symptoms and their impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in the Korean population.


A cross-sectional survey, using a reliable and valid Rome II based questionnaire, was performed on randomly selected residents, between 18 and 69 years in age. All respondents were interviewed at their homes or offices by a team of interviewers. The impact of chronic gastrointestinal symptoms on HRQOL was assessed using the Korean version of the 36-item Short-Form general health survey (SF-36).


Of the 1807 eligible subjects, 1417 (78.4%: male 762; female 655) were surveyed. Out of the respondents, 18.6% exhibited at least one chronic gastrointestinal symptom. The prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), defined as heartburn and/or acid regurgitation experienced at least weekly, was 3.5% (95% CI, 2.6-4.5). The prevalence of uninvestigated dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation based on Rome II criteria were 11.7% (95% CI, 10.1-13.5), 2.2% (95% CI, 1.5-3.1), and 2.6% (95% CI, 1.8-3.5) respectively. Compared with subjects without chronic gastrointestinal symptoms (n=1153), those with GERD (n=50), uninvestigated dyspepsia (n=166) and IBS (n=31) had significantly worse scores on most domains of the SF-36 scales.


The prevalence of GERD, uninvestigated dyspepsia and IBS were 3.5%, 11.7% and 2.2% respectively, in the Korean population. The health-related quality of life was significantly impaired in subjects with GERD, uninvestigated dyspepsia and IBS in this community.

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