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December 6, 1976

Intrinsic Asthma in Adults: Association With Gastroesophageal Reflux

Author Affiliations

From the Pulmonary Disease Service, Department of Medicine, Letterman Army Medical Center, Presidio of San Francisco. Dr Mays is now with Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn.

JAMA. 1976;236(23):2626-2628. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270240022017

Of 28 patients with severe asthma routinely examined with upper gastrointestinal (UGI) x-ray films, 18 (64%) were found to have hiatus hernia and 13 (46%) were found to have demonstrable gastroesophageal reflux. These prevalences differed significantly (P <.001) from those seen in a control population (19% and 5%, respectively).

These data suggest that aspiration of gastric acid is a frequent incitant to severe asthma and that it should be routinely sought in the treatment-resisant asthmatic patient. Intensive medical regimens directed against reflux and acidity may bring notable improvement in asthma symptoms. Surgical restoration of effective lower esophageal sphincter function has proved to be curative in other reported studies.

(JAMA 236:2626-2628, 1976)