An Australian team of researchers found a high incidence of acid reflux (GERD) in patients with moderate COPD or bronchiectasis; in fact, those patients were twice as likely as those without lung disease.
These findings could support the theory that acid reflux contributes to lung disease. Reflux is the backing up of acid from the stomach into the esophagus causing a burning sensation normally referred to as heartburn. Some patients actually aspirate, or inhale, the acid into the lungs causing scarring which could lead to worsening of lung disease symptoms. The Australian study found that some of the bronchiectasis patients had "clinically silent" reflux; meaning they felt no typical heartburn symptoms.
The recommendation from the researchers are two fold - one, to look more closely at this issue with a larger group; and two, for Doctors to consider 24-hour esophageal monitoring for COPD patients.
So, what can we take away from this preliminary study? If you suffer from COPD it may serve you well to discuss your options with your physician. If you would like to have a consultation with a specialists, like the Doctors of GI Associates, we would be happy to discuss your concerns with you. In Mississippi, call 601-355-1234 or request a first time appointment patient portal.. If you are an existing patient, please use the