Can subjective symptoms predict objective findings in gastroesophageal reflux disease patients?
Steven G. Leeds M.D.
Rasmussen, M., Leeds, S. G., Ward, M. A., Sanchez, C., Chin, K., Hansen, L. and Ogola, G. O. (2022). “Can subjective symptoms predict objective findings in gastroesophageal reflux disease patients?” Surg Endosc.
INTRODUCTION: Medical therapy is the first-line treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease, but surgical options are available and shown to be effective when medical management fails. There is no consensus for when a surgical evaluation is indicated. We set out to determine if the GERD-HRQL questionnaire scores correlate to objective findings found in patients undergoing anti-reflux surgery to predict when surgical consultation could be warranted. METHODS: A prospectively gathered database was used for patients undergoing anti-reflux surgery from January 2014 to September 2020. Inclusion criteria required a diagnosis of GERD and comprehensive esophageal workup with the GERD-HRQL questionnaire, EGD, esophageal manometry, and ambulatory pH monitoring. Analysis of the GERD-HRQL scores was compared to objective endpoints to see correlation and predictability. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess relationship between the presence of objective findings and GERD-HRQL questionnaire scores. RESULTS: There were 246 patients meeting inclusion criteria. There was no significant correlation between GERD-HRQL score and DeMeester score (correlation coefficient = 0.23), or presence of a hiatal hernia, regardless of size (p = 0.89). Patients with esophagitis had significantly higher average GERD-HRQL scores compared to those without esophagitis (40.1 ± 18.9 vs 30.4 ± 19.1, p < 0.0001). Patients with a score of 40 or greater had a 42% to 65% probability of having esophagitis versus a score of 30 or less, lowering the chances of having esophagitis to less than 35%. CONCLUSION: Usage of a GERD-HRQL questionnaire score can potentially show the correlation between subjective and objective findings in the workup of a patient for anti-reflux surgery. Specifically, patients with a GERD-HRQL score of 40 or greater have an increased probability of esophagitis compared to those with a score of 30 or less. Using these scores can help referring clinicians identify those patients failing medical therapy and allow for prompt referral for surgical evaluation.