Characteristics of gastroesophageal reflux in adults with cystic fibrosis

Arash A. Sabati, Robert R. Kempainen, Carlos E. Milla, Marjorie Ireland, Sarah J Schwarzenberg, Jordan M Dunitz, Khalid M. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) in adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) is poorly characterized. This study examines the frequency and predictors of GER symptoms and their relationship to lung function in adults with CF. Methods: Cross-sectional study of adults at the University of Minnesota CF Clinic using two validated self report surveys: The Mayo GER questionnaire and the GERD Symptom Assessment Scale (GSAS). Results: Of 274 invited patients, 201 (73%) completed the surveys and 173 performed spirometry at the same visit. Frequent symptoms (at least weekly) were reported by 24% of the patients and an additional 39% experienced occasional symptoms. Heartburn, acid regurgitation and dysphagia were the most common symptoms and 18% reported that GER symptoms worsened their respiratory condition. Females and patients reporting weight loss had more symptoms (mean GSAS symptom score 4.9 vs. 4.0, p=0.025 and 5.3 vs. 4.2, p=0.04) and more severe symptoms (mean GSAS distress score 5.6 vs. 3.8, p=0.005 and 6.8 vs. 4.0, p=0.01) compared to males and those who did not report weight loss. Patients on acid suppression (n=122, 61%) continued to report heartburn (n=80, 66%) and acid regurgitation (n=47, 23%). GER symptoms and severity of symptoms were not predictive of FEV1 or FVC. Conclusions: GER symptoms were present in a majority of patients. Females and patients with weight loss require special attention to their GER symptoms. Many patients on acid suppression continued to be report symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-370
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cystic Fibrosis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Histamine-2 receptor antagonist
  • Proton pump inhibitor
  • Self report survey
  • Spirometry


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