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J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011 Jan;17(1):14-27. doi: 10.5056/jnm.2011.17.1.14. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

Epidemiology of gastroesophageal reflux disease in Asia: a systematic review.

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Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.


Ethnic and geographical differences are important factors in studying disease frequencies, because they may highlight the environmental or genetic influences in the etiology. We retrieved the studies which have been published regarding the epidemiologic features of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in Asia, based on the definitions of GERD, study settings, publication years and geographical regions. From the population-based studies, the prevalence of symptom-based GERD in Eastern Asia was found to be 2.5%-4.8% before 2005 and 5.2%-8.5% from 2005 to 2010. In Southeast and Western Asia, it was 6.3%-18.3% after 2005, which was much higher than those in Eastern Asia. There were robust epidemiologic data of endoscopic reflux esophagitis in medical check-up participants. The prevalence of endoscopic reflux esophagitis in Eastern Asia increased from 3.4%-5.0% before 2000, to 4.3%-15.7% after 2005. Although there were only limited studies, the prevalence of extra-esophageal syndromes in Asia was higher in GERD group than in controls. The prevalence of Barrett's esophagus was 0.06%-0.84% in the health check-up participants, whereas it was 0.31%-2.00% in the referral hospital settings. In summary, the prevalence of symptom-based GERD and endoscopic reflux esophagitis has increased in Asian countries. However, the prevalence of Barrett's esophagus in Asia has not changed and also still rare.


Asia; Epidemiology; Gastroesophageal reflux; Prevalence

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