Prevalence and Associated Features of Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms in a Caucasian-Predominant Adolescent School Population

Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital, 1775 Dempster Street, Park Ridge, IL 60068, USA.
Digestive Diseases and Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.61). 02/2008; 53(9):2373-9. DOI: 10.1007/s10620-007-0150-5
Source: PubMed


To determine the prevalence of esophageal symptoms and associated symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in 14-18 year-old high school students and the percentage of symptomatic adolescents who saw a physician or received medications.
A cross-sectional questionnaire administered to students at two high schools.
1,286 completed questionnaires were analyzed. The study sample consisted of 57% Caucasians and 57% males, with a mean age of 15.7 (+/-1.3) years.
No intervention was used. Participants completed questionnaires only.
714 students (56%) reported at least one esophageal or respiratory symptom. Esophageal symptoms reported were: heartburn (22%), regurgitation (21%), and dysphagia (15%). Respiratory symptoms reported were: shortness of breath (24%), wheezing (20%), and cough (18%). Students with at least one esophageal symptom were more likely to experience at least one respiratory symptom than were students with no esophageal symptoms (52% vs. 25%; p < 0.001). Cigarette, alcohol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use were risk factors for both respiratory and esophageal symptoms. Of those experiencing one or more of these symptoms, 4% reported that the symptoms affected their daily activities, 23% visited a physician, and 25% took medication in the past year.
Esophageal symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux are frequent in adolescents. Fewer than 25% of students with gastroesophageal reflux symptoms consulted a physician and/or took medications.

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    ABSTRACT: To develop an international consensus on the definition of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in the pediatric population. Using the Delphi process, a set of statements was developed and voted on by an international panel of eight pediatric gastroenterologists. Statements were based on systematic literature searches using Medline, EMBASE, and CINAHL. Voting was conducted using a six-point scale, with consensus defined, a priori, as agreed by 75% of the group. The strength of each statement was assessed using the GRADE system. There were four rounds of voting. In the final vote, consensus was reached on 98% of the 59 statements. In this vote, 95% of the statements were accepted by seven of eight voters. Consensus items of particular note were: (i) GERD is present when reflux of gastric contents causes troublesome symptoms and/or complications, but this definition is complicated by unreliable reporting of symptoms in children under the age of approximately 8 years; (ii) histology has limited use in establishing or excluding a diagnosis of GERD; its primary role is to exclude other conditions; (iii) Barrett's esophagus should be defined as esophageal metaplasia that is intestinal metaplasia positive or negative; and (iv) extraesophageal conditions may be associated with GERD, but for most of these conditions causality remains to be established. The consensus statements that comprise the Definition of GERD in the Pediatric Population were developed through a rigorous process. These statements are intended to be used for the development of future clinical practice guidelines and as a basis for clinical trials.
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