Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) who report treatment for gastroespophageal reflux (GER) appear to have longer survival than IPF patients who are not treated for GERD, according to a new study from the University of California, San Francisco.
"While preliminary, these findings support a relationship between GER, chronic microaspiration and IPF," said lead researcher Joyce Lee, MD, clinical instructor in the Department of Medicine at UCSF. Microaspiration occurs when gastric droplets reflux into the esophagus and enter the airways.
The study was published online ahead of the print edition of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical care Medicine.
IPF is a devastating and incurable lung disease, characterized by progressive scarring of the lung tissue, which ultimately prevents the lungs from being able to supply the body with adequate oxygen. The median survival time from diagnosis is 2-3 years.
Dr. Lee and colleagues retrospectively identified patients with IPF from two longitudinal cohorts of patients with interstitial lung disease who were seen at either UCSF or the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., between April 2001 and July 2008. At both clinics, GER symptoms and treatment were recorded and reviewed prospectively by the treating physician. The researchers recorded demographic data, radiologic data of the extent of fibrosis and survival time.
Of 204 patients, they found that symptoms of GER were present in 34 percent, and patient- or physician-reported history of GER was present in 45 percent (as compared with 10 to 20 percent in the population at large). At the time of diagnosis with IPF, about half of patients reported that they were currently being treated for GER with medication. Eleven patients reported having undergone surgical treatment for GER.
Remarkably, Dr. Lee and colleagues found that patients who had undergone or were undergoing t
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American Thoracic Society