Link Observed Between Pediatric Asthma and GERD

But more evidence is needed to support a clear nature and direction of the association

MONDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- In pediatric patients who present with asthma in secondary and tertiary referral settings, there may be an association between asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but some aspects of the association are unclear, according to a review published online March 29 in Pediatrics.

Kalpesh Thakkar, M.D., of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 20 studies that included 5,706 patients under 18 years of age.

The researchers found that the estimated prevalence of GERD in asthma patients ranged from a low of 19.3 percent to a high of 80 percent, resulting in a pooled average of 22.8 percent with GERD symptoms, 62.9 percent of 789 patients with abnormal esophageal pH, and 34.8 percent of 89 patients with esophagitis. In the five studies that included controls, they found that the average prevalence of GERD was significantly higher in asthma cases than in controls (22 versus 4.8 percent), resulting in a pooled odds ratio of 5.6.

"The nature and direction of the association are unclear because of a lack of longitudinal studies establishing the correct temporal sequence, studies suggesting no severity-response relationship, and inadequate data supporting a treatment-response relationship," the authors conclude. "Our results emphasize the need for more epidemiologic studies, including long-term follow-up, to examine the relationship between GERD and asthma."

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