Symptoms with acid and nonacid reflux may be produced by different mechanisms

A. Agrawal, J. Roberts, N. Sharma, R. Tutuian, M. Vela, D. O. Castell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Twenty-four-hour multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH (MII-pH) esophageal monitoring detects both acid and nonacid gastroesophageal reflux episodes. The MII-pH catheter contains six impedance segments placed 3, 5, 7, 9, 15, and 17 cm above the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). A pH electrode at 5cm above the LES identifies the type of reflux, i.e. acid or nonacid. Patients with acid and nonacid reflux exhibit typical and atypical symptoms often within 5min following a reflux episode. The aim of this study is to compare the timing of symptoms after reflux episodes in patients with acid and nonacid reflux. Methods include a review of 70 MII-pH tracings (42 females, mean age 40, range 18-85 years) either on (50 points) or off (20 points) acid suppression therapy. Typical (heartburn, regurgitation) and atypical (cough) symptoms with acid or nonacid reflux episodes detected by impedance were analyzed. Symptoms were considered positive with acid reflux if there was a pH drop to < 4, plus an MII detected a reflux episode and with nonacid reflux if pH remained > 4 and MII detected a reflux episode. The timing of the symptom after each reflux episode was recorded. Symptom perception occurred significantly sooner after acid versus nonacid reflux ( P < 0.05). Acid reflux episodes are more likely to be perceived in the first 2min following the reflux episode. Patients with acid reflux are likely to perceive symptoms earlier, and symptoms with acid and nonacid reflux may be produced by different mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-470
Number of pages4
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Acid reflux
  • GERD
  • Mechanisms
  • Nonacid reflux
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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