Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common, chronic disorder that can progress to erosive or ulcerative oesophagitis and other complications. Uncomplicated GORD can be defined using criteria that combine symptom assessment and the impact of symptoms on well being or quality of life. The extent of impairment of health-related quality of life (HRQL) in GORD patients has been evaluated using generic HRQL questionnaires, GORD-specific quality of life questionnaires or a combination of the two types of instruments. The impact of GORD on HRQL in affected individuals is proportional to the frequency and severity of heartburn, and is greater than that associated with many other chronic diseases. In the treatment of GORD, the goal should be complete symptom resolution as this has been shown to be associated with a clinically significant improvement in HRQL. Both drug treatment and surgical intervention have been successful in improving HRQL of patients with GORD when complete symptom resolution can be attained.