: There is a need for a simple, therapeutic test that is of diagnostic value and can also provide rapid symptom relief in patients who present with classic, mild symptoms suggestive of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD), when the diagnosis is based on symptom assessment alone.
: To assess the diagnostic value of a therapeutic trial of omeprazole 40 mg in a dyspeptic population.
: A total of 90 patients with symptoms suggestive of GERD entered the study. Patients underwent endoscopy and ambulatory oesophageal pH monitoring for 18–24 h. Patients then received omeprazole 40 mg o.m. for 2 weeks.
: There was a significant correlation between the diagnoses obtained from a trial of omeprazole and the diagnoses obtained from pH monitoring (P < 0.05). There was no significant correlation between the diagnoses obtained from endoscopy and those obtained from pH monitoring. Both omeprazole and endoscopy were compared to pH monitoring as the ‘gold standard’ for the diagnosis of GERD and the cost per correct diagnosis with omeprazole was £47 (95% CI: £40–£59) compared to £480 (95% CI: £396–£608) with endoscopy. There was a complete absence of acid-related symptoms in the majority (59%) of patients after 3 days of omeprazole 40 mg therapy and, after 2 weeks, 82% of patients had experienced an improvement in overall symptoms ( 1 grade).
: We conclude that omeprazole can be used as a clinically effective tool in the initial management of GERD and that it is of diagnostic value in patients who present with typical symptoms, such as heartburn, when the diagnosis is based on symptom assessment alone.