A new study shows an association between acid reflux symptoms and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations. Using a questionnaire-based, cross-sectional survey, researchers from the University of Florida, Jacksonville, investigated the prevalence and effect of acid reflux symptoms, formally known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), on the rate of exacerbations in 86 patients with COPD (57 percent men, mean age 67.5 years).
Patients were recruited from outpatient pulmonary and general medicine clinics, and all completed the Mayo Clinic GERD questionnaire. Researchers defined clinically significant reflux as heartburn and/or acid regurgitation weekly, and other outcome measures included frequency and type of COPD exacerbations. Researchers found that the 37 percent of patients reporting GERD symptoms were twice as likely to experience COPD exacerbations, compared with those without GERD symptoms. This study appears in the October issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physician.