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According to investigators in a report published in the October 2003 issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, a diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should be considered in patients with significant belching. The study retrospectively examined the prevalence, frequency, and severity of belching and other GERD symptoms in patients with GERD (n = 180) and in patients with dyspepsia (n = 78). The patients represented a random sampling of patients referred to the Stanford University Gastroenterology Clinic from 1995 to 2001 who underwent evaluation by manometry, pH monitoring, and endoscopy.
Researchers found that the prevalence and severity of belching alone were not significantly different between the 2 groups.There was, however, a significantly higher correlation of both heartburn and belching associated with acid events in the GERD group. Moreover, the initiation of proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy did not improve belching scores in patients with dyspepsia, whereas it did significantly improve belching and heartburn among GERD patients. Therefore, the researchers conclude that ambulatory pH monitoring should be considered to clarify the relationship of belching to acid reflux in patients with GERD or dyspepsia.