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Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2010; 32: 1266–1274

Summary

Background  Factors associated with non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) and erosive oesophagitis (EO) are incompletely understood and the overlap between the two entities is debated.

Aim  To compare clinical, demographic, and endoscopic findings in a large cohort of NERD and EO patients.

Methods  After they completed a validated GERD questionnaire, patients who presented for index endoscopy were enrolled and categorized as NERD or EO. Analysis was performed using Chi-square, Mann–Whitney U-test and multivariate logistic regression.

Results  A total of 696 GERD patients [455 (65.4%) NERD; 241 (34.6%) EO]; mean age 57 years; 92% men and 82% Caucasian were prospectively enrolled. Using logistic regression, patients on PPI were more likely to be classified as NERD (OR: 3.2; < 0.001). NERD patients were older (OR: 1.50; = 0.05), less likely to have nocturnal symptoms (OR: 0.63; = 0.04) and hiatal hernia (OR: 0.32; < 0.001). Compared with PPI-naïve NERD patients, those on PPI were more likely to have nocturnal symptoms (69% vs. 29%, = 0.048) and less likely to have mild-moderate symptoms (63% vs. 79%, < 0.001) – similar to the EO group.

Conclusions  Pre-endoscopy PPI usage contributes significantly to the classification of GERD patients into the NERD-phenotype. NERD patients on PPI therapy demonstrate some features that are significantly different from PPI-naïve patients, but similar to EO patients. This observation supports the notion that some PPI NERD patients are actually healed EO patients, and that an overlap does exist between the GERD phenotypes.