Researchers ready for second phase of testing on relieving symptoms for both
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/19/2013 -- According to a new study, there may be a causal link between Chronic heartburn and asthma in adults.
The finding may be able to assist specialists in understanding the health risks and possible treatments involving esophageal cancer, which is already associated with chronic heartburn. The affliction is already known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and is one of the most commonly known digestive disorders within the Western nations.
GERD is an affliction that arises when the muscles at the end of the esophagus fail to properly close, which then allows stomach contents to leak up into the esophagus. This causes irritation, which includes gas, heartburn, and mild-to-moderate pain. Chest discomfort, dry cough, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness, along with possible regurgitation of food are also associated with the affliction.
Within the study, researchers noted specifically designed catheter that was able to measure the levels of acid reflux exposure that was within the patient's airway. The researchers believe that the method will be more effective than conventional testing techniques for noting GERD-induced asthma.
In the results, researchers noted a majority of patients found an easement of asthma symptoms after they underwent surgery for GERD. The results will be published in JAMA Surgery.
"We have observed for some time a strong association between GERD and certain pulmonary [lung] diseases, including adult-onset asthma," study author Dr. Blair Jobe, director of the Institute for the Treatment of Esophageal and Thoracic Disease at the West Penn Allegheny Health System, said in a health system news release.
"The real challenge, however, has been our limited ability to effectively diagnose these patients and determine who precisely may benefit from surgical intervention," he added. According to Jobe, the newly devised test "is much more sensitive as means of detecting GERD in asthmatic patients than what we have traditionally relied upon."
The findings have been noted to be strong enough to warrant a second round of testing in adults with asthma who have not seen positive responses to asthma medication, as well as those who have GERD symptoms as well as asthma symptoms.
One expert wasn't surprised by the findings, noting: "GERD is a common condition affecting millions of Americans," noted Dr. David Bernstein, gastroenterologist and chief of the division of hepatology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. He said that "reflux of gastric acid through the esophagus and into the lungs is a common cause of chronic cough and asthma."
But it may be too early to advocate for widespread diagnostic testing using the new method, he added.
"This new technique is interesting and needs to be further evaluated before it can replace currently accepted diagnostic techniques," Bernstein said.
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