Developments in pathogenesis and diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW Although gastroesophageal reflux is a common disorder, diagnosis is still imprecise. Moreover, its pathogenesis is incompletely understood. This review summarizes recent progress in diagnosis and our understanding of the pathogenesis of gastroesophageal reflux disease. RECENT FINDINGS Recent studies have focused on the pattern of reflux in the distal esophagus, just above the esophago-gastric junction, challenging its importance on the genesis of reflux symptoms. New techniques, such as impedance, could improve the diagnostic yield, especially in patients with nonacid reflux. Esophageal sensitivity and motility, transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations, and hiatus hernia are important pathogenic mechanisms of reflux disease. Studies showed that obesity plays a role in the pathogenesis of reflux symptoms; a disruption of the esophago-gastric junction (leading to hiatus hernia) could allow reflux to occur. The association between reflux (particularly nonacid) and extraesophageal manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease has been further evaluated. SUMMARY Improvement of diagnostic techniques and better understanding of the pathogenesis of reflux may lead to new or better therapeutic modalities. Our understanding of some of the risk factors for reflux has been increased. Extra-esophageal manifestations and their association with gastroesophageal reflux are still a very controversial and promising area of research.


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