- Explain to interested patients that this study suggests that GERD symptoms, especially at night, are associated with sleep impairment.
- Note that in this study nighttime GERD symptoms were associated with increased symptom severity and with atypical symptoms, both of which adversely affect sleep and quality of life.
- Point out that the findings were reported at a medical conference and as a published abstract and should be considered preliminary until they appear in a peer-reviewed journal.
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 17 -- Half of all patients with nighttime symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease have sleep problems and such patients also score lower on quality of life measures, including mental and physical function, according to studies reported here.
All patients with GERD reported more sleep disturbance than controls who did not have reflux problems, but those with nighttime symptoms were significantly more likely, at P=0.0003, to have impaired sleep than those who experience GERD only during the day, Ronnie Fass, M.D., of the University of Arizona in Tucson told attendees at the American College of Gastroenterology meeting.
Nighttime GERD is also associated with atypical manifestations that are particularly disruptive to sleep, and patients with nighttime reflux tend to have more severe GERD, Dr. Fass and colleagues found.
"Nighttime GERD affects a large number of patients, and the impact on sleep and quality of life should not be underestimated," said Dr. Fass. "Better awareness of this problem should lead to more thorough evaluation of patients and more effective treatment."
The findings came from a survey of 2,603 adults living in the United States. The sample included 701 participants who reported a history of GERD, 668 of whom had symptomatic disease. Dr. Fass and colleagues determined that 303 patients had nighttime GERD and 365 had GERD symptoms only during the day.
As compared with the non-GERD control group, significantly more GERD patients reported sleep impairment (41.9% versus 19.4%, P=0.0001). Patients with GERD at night were more likely to report impaired sleep compared with patients who had symptoms only during the day (49.5% versus 36.7%, P=0.0003).