The impact of gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms in scleroderma: Effects on sleep quality

J. L. Horsley-Silva, S. B. Umar, M. F. Vela, W. L. Griffing, J. M. Parish, J. K. Dibaise, M. D. Crowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Systemic scleroderma/sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune connective tissue disease, which can lead to esophageal motor dysfunction and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nocturnal GERD symptoms may be associated with sleep disturbances, which in turn can drastically affect well-being and fatigue levels.We hypothesized that GERD symptoms would be associated with poorer sleep in patients with SSc. Rheumatologist established SSc patients completed the following questionnaires: the UCLA scleroderma clinical trial consortium gastrointestinal tract instrument (GIT) 2.0 questionnaire; the Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI); the fatigue severity scale (FSS); the multidimensional gastrointestinal symptom severity index (GSSI). Poor sleep quality was defined by a PSQI total score >5. Questionnaires were completed by 287 patients [mean (SD) age = 59 (14) years; female = 243]. Poor sleep quality was identified in 194 (68%) patients. Patients with poor sleep quality reported less sleep time and increased fatigue compared to those with normal sleep scores. SSc patients with poor sleep had significantly higher GIT Reflux scores (P <.001), and poor sleep was more frequent in those with moderate/severe versus mild/no heartburn on GISSI (P < .001). Narcotic and antidepressant use was significantly more frequent in SSc patients with poor sleep quality. Multivariable logistic regression supported the association between GERD symptoms and poor sleep after controlling for age, sex, and body mass index (BMI) (2.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.52–4.25; P < .001). The association remained after controlling for narcotic and antidepressant use (2.20, 95% CI 1.29–3.73; P < .001). SSc patients who reported GERD symptoms were also more likely to report poor sleep quality. Future studies should examine mechanisms underlying nocturnal GERD symptoms in SSc patients, and the impact of improved GERD symptom control on sleep quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdoy136
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • esophageal dysmotility
  • fatigue
  • nocturnal reflux
  • sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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