Heartburn and regurgitation are the most common gastroesophageal reflux symptoms, and dysphagia could be a possible symptom. This investigation aimed to evaluate the prevalence of non-obstructive dysphagia in patients with heartburn and regurgitation.
A total of 147 patients (age, 20-70 years; women, 72%) complaining of heartburn and regurgitation, without esophageal stricture, previous esophageal surgery, or other diseases, were evaluated. Twenty-seven patients had esophagitis. The Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10) was employed to screen for dysphagia; EAT-10 is composed of 10 items, and the patients rate each item from 0 to 4 (0, no problems; 4, most severe symptom). Results of the 147 patients were compared with those of 417 healthy volunteers (women, 62%; control group) aged 20-68 years.
In the control group, only two (0.5%) had an EAT-10 score ≥5, which was chosen as the threshold to define dysphagia. EAT-10 scores ≥5 were found in 71 (48.3%) patients and in 55% of the patients with esophagitis and 47% of the patients without esophagitis. This finding indicates a relatively higher prevalence of perceived dysphagia in patients with heartburn and regurgitation and in patients with esophagitis. We also found a positive correlation between EAT-10 scores and the severity of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms based on the Velanovich scale.
In patients with heartburn and regurgitation symptoms, the prevalence of dysphagia was at least 48%, and has a positive correlation with the overall symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux.