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Field S. K., Field T. S., Cowie R. L.
Background. Associations have been reported between gastroesophageal reflux and a variety of upper and lower respiratory tract conditions. Respiratory conditions and GER are common and would be expected to coexist in many patients. Whether there is a relationship between GER and these conditions and its nature remain controversial. The purpose of this paper is to review the relationship between GER and these conditions.
Methods. Searches of the 1966 to 2000 MEDLINE database were undertaken to identify appropriate studies. The terms gastroesophageal reflux, medical antireflux therapy, and antireflux surgery were combined with rhinitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, laryngeal stricture, croup, apnea, dental caries, aspiration pneumonia, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis and cough.
Results. Papers were identified that related any of the above respiratory conditions to gastroesophageal reflux or to antireflux therapy. Most suggested a causative relationship between GER and these conditions but only a few of the studies were controlled. Controlled studies demonstrate a strong association between GER and asthma and cystic fibrosis.
Conclusions. A strong association between GER and some respiratory conditions has been demonstrated in controlled trials. It is uncertain whether the association is due to GER causing respiratory disease or vice versa. It is clear that further properly powered, controlled, randomized trials of the relationship between GER and antireflux therapy and respiratory disease need to be conducted.