Los Angeles - Novel study has shown the direct connection between controlling stomach acid and a remedy for erosive esophagitis that is spurred on by acid reflux disease. The results of the study and the trial have been presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week.
Results from the multi-site, four-week, double blind trial demonstrated that patients were more likely to achieve healing of erosive esophagitis (EE) if their gastric acid was well controlled after five days of therapy. Gastric acid control was defined as intragastric pH > 4. In patients who were healed of EE acid was well controlled through day five an average of 61.3 percent of the time, compared to 42.1 percent of the time in unhealed patients; p=0.0002. A post hoc analysis showed that healed patients also experienced a longer duration of acid control in the esophagus (95.2 percent of a 24-hour period) compared to unhealed patients (88.9 percent of a 24-hour period), a statistically significant difference (p=0.0059). Better acid control also correlated to significantly lower heartburn and acid regurgitation symptom scores (Spearman rank correlation [r] = -29 percent and -21 percent; p=0.003 and 0.032, respectively).
"This is the first prospective study that showed an association between control of intragastric pH and clinical outcomes in GERD patients," said Philip Katz, MD, lead author of the study. "The results further support intragastric pH as a surrogate marker for assessing the efficacy of antisecretory therapy in GERD."
Acid reflux disease is frequent persistent heartburn (burning pain and pressure in the center of the chest) on two or more days a week. It occurs when the valve between the esophagus and stomach stops closing properly, allowing acid to leak back into the esophagus. About one in three people with frequent, persistent heartburn also experience erosive esophagitis, in which over time stomach acid begins to wear away, or erode, the inner lining of the esophagus. Since the frequency or severity of heartburn a person experiences does not reflect the presence of erosions, only a doctor can determine if damage has occurred.