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Senior Health Week: Acid Reflux - Ulcers
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Acid Reflux - Ulcer News:

Chronic Cough in GERD Patients Not Always Caused by Acid

The chronic cough caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is not always caused by acid, according to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Drug therapy, including intensive acid suppression, may not improve GERD's chronic cough.

"There is a subgroup of patients with chronic cough whose intragastric or stomach acidity can be completely or nearly completely suppressed with acid therapy yet they can still have their cough due to GERD," said Dr. Richard S. Irwin of UM. "What we've found is that chronic cough is caused not only by acid, but by non-acid mediators such as enzymes as well."

For these patients, antireflux surgery can eliminate or significantly improve the chronic cough, the researchers reported in the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

In a study of 8 patients (7 women, 1 man) with chronic cough due to GERD whose symptoms did not improve with drug therapy, the researchers reported that the coughs of all eight either disappeared or were markedly improved after surgery. . Positive results were still seen one year later and long-term follow-up found the results still present from 2.5 to 4 years after surgery.

"The charge of any physician is to improve patient care and quality of life," said Dr. Sidney S. Braman, president of the American College of Chest Physicians. "As a result of this study, we now have a better idea of what's causing the chronic cough and can recommend treatment options for those patients who don't respond to widely used therapies."

Source: Medical Week staff, week of April 14, 2002


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