What is the relationship between gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and asthma?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Cough, recurrent bronchitis, pneumonia, wheezing, and asthma are associated with gastroesophageal reflux (GER). [55, 56] The incidence of GER in patients with asthma ranges from 38% in patients with only asthma symptoms to 48% in patients with recurrent pneumonia. Scintigraphic studies performed after technetium-99m sulfur-colloid ingestion have shown radionuclide activity in the lungs the next day, but no causal relationship between reflux and asthma has been established. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that increased pulmonary resistance occurs with symptoms of reflux during acid provocation testing; as some have suggested, the changes may be sufficiently significant to produce clinically evident bronchoconstriction. [55]

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