Chronic belching can be a difficult and socially disabling symptom often attributed to reflux with poor response to therapy. In patients where aerophagia is identified as a clear cause, treatment with baclofen may not be tolerated, and biofeedback therapy is time-intensive and may still not be effective. In this pilot study, an office-based easy-to-perform method based on sustained glottal opening was used in five patients with chronic belching, in whom reflux and other causes had been excluded. Treatment consisted of having the patient breathe slowly and diaphragmatically with his or her mouth open during supine, then sitting periods to prevent belching. When this was successful, patients were then counseled on continuing this breathing with mouth slightly ajar as an outpatient using this persistently. Wide mouth opening was used for rescue therapy of belching attacks. All five patients responded to the office-based therapy with complete cessation of belching during the visit. At 1-month follow up, four patients remained asymptomatic. One patient was asymptomatic but for two breakthrough attacks easily managed with the protocol. A simple office-based procedure based on complete glottal opening can be curative for a subset of patients with chronic eructation secondary to repetitive air swallowing.
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