Prevalence of atypical symptoms and their association with typical symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux in Spain

Enrique Rey, Cristina Moreno Elola-Olaso, Fernando Rodríguez-Artalejo, G. Richard Locke, Manuel Díaz-Rubio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The association between typical and atypical symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) has received little attention in population-based studies. This study therefore sought to examine the prevalence of atypical symptoms, and their association with typical GER symptoms in Spain. METHODS: A telephone survey using a validated questionnaire was conducted in 2002 on 2500 subjects aged 40-79 years, randomly selected from the general population of Spain. The questionnaire included items on typical GER symptoms (heartburn and acid regurgitation) and several atypical symptoms (chest pain, dysphagia, belching, dyspepsia, globus, hoarseness, hiccups, chronic cough and asthma). The association between typical GER symptoms and each atypical symptom was summarized using odds ratios obtained from logistic regression. RESULTS: The response rate was 71.2%. A total of 60.8% (95% confidence interval 59.0-62.8%) of subjects reported suffering from at least one atypical symptom during the year preceding the interview. The prevalence rates varied from 26.7% for hoarseness to 6.6% for asthma. The prevalence of atypical symptoms was higher among the 791 subjects with typical GER symptoms than among the 1709 subjects reporting no typical GER symptoms (79.6 versus 52.2%). It was also higher among those reporting frequent typical GER symptoms compared with those reporting occasional symptoms (87.8 versus 58%). After adjustment for age, sex, coffee, alcohol and tobacco consumption, and psychosomatic symptoms, an association (P<0.05) was observed between typical symptoms and the respective atypical symptoms, with odds ratios ranging from 1.4 for asthma to 4.6 for belching. After additional adjustment for the remaining atypical symptoms, chest pain, dysphagia, dyspepsia, belching and globus were each independently associated with typical reflux symptoms. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of atypical GER symptoms is extremely high. There is an association between typical and atypical GER symptoms, particularly chest pain, dysphagia, dyspepsia, belching and globus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-975
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Atypical symptoms
  • Epidemiology
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Spain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence of atypical symptoms and their association with typical symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux in Spain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this