The diagnosis of gastro-esophageal reflux disease cannot be made with barium esophagograms

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For over 50 years, barium studies have been used to diagnose gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), but the value of this test is controversial. Our study aimed to determine if barium esophagograms can be used to diagnose GERD. Barium esophagograms and pH-impedance measurement were performed in 20 subjects with reflux symptoms. pH-impedance measurements were used as gold standard for the diagnosis of GERD. Gastro-esophageal reflux measured with the barium study was defined as a positive outcome. 50% of patients presented gastro-esophageal reflux on the barium esophagogram. No significant differences were observed in acid exposure time between subjects with (median: 7.4%; interquartile range, IQR: 8.4%) or without reflux at barium esophagography (median: 5.95%; IQR: 13.05%; p > 0.05). Nor did we find differences in median proximal extent of reflux measured with impedance monitoring between patients with a positive (median: 6.7%; IQR: 1.95%) and negative barium study (median: 7.1%; IQR: 0.68%; p > 0.05). Patients with reflux on barium esophagogram did not have a positive symptom association probability more often than those who did not have reflux at barium esophagography. Lastly, there were no differences in numbers of acid, weakly acidic or total reflux episodes between those with positive or negative barium esophagogram (p > 0.05). No correlations were found between the maximum proximal extent of gastro-esophageal reflux during esophagography and pH-impedance parameters. Presence or absence of gastro-esophageal reflux during barium esophagography does not correlate with incidence or extent of reflux observed during 24-h pH-impedance monitoring and is not of value for the diagnosis of GERD
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-200
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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