Although many people suffer from heartburn occasionally, patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), for whom heartburn is the primary symptom, impose a considerable clinical and socioeconomic burden.
In a study published in the December 2003 issue of Zeitschrift fur Gastroenterologie, Ahmed Madisch, MD, and colleagues examined the impact of heartburn on patients? healthrelated quality of life (HRQOL). They surveyed 142 German patients with heartburn symptoms and found that patients were most bothered by symptoms of reflux, indigestion, and abdominal pain. Because of their symptoms, patients reported experiencing problems with eating and drinking, along with difficulties in daily functioning, impaired vitality, emotional distress, and trouble sleeping. Therefore, the researchers believe that heartburn substantially impairs all aspects of HRQOL.