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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1991 Jan;26(1):73-81.

The prevalence of symptoms suggestive of esophageal disorders.

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Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology, Sahlgren's Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.


A questionnaire study was conducted to assess the prevalence and severity of symptoms suggestive of esophageal disorders in a general population. The study included 407 randomly selected subjects, evenly distributed in terms of sex and age, within the age span of 20-79 years. A total of 337 subjects replied (85%). Symptoms suggestive of gastroesophageal reflux were found among 25% of the participants. Cough on swallowing was common (27%), as was globus (16%) and chest pain (13%). In addition, dysphagia was reported by 10% and vomiting by 9%. The symptoms were usually mild, and moderate to severe symptoms were reported only occasionally (1-4%). No statistical correlation was found between esophageal symptoms and age, sex, or the reported consumption of tobacco, alcohol, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The frequency of heartburn and/or acid regurgitation was twice as common among those with symptoms of respiratory disease as among those with no respiratory complaints. A stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that a chronic cough and/or breathing difficulties were significantly related to the presence of symptoms suggestive of gastroesophageal reflux.

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