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Prevalence and clinical importance of gastroesophageal reflux in Chinese patients with systemic sclerosis

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2012 Vol.30, N°2 ,Suppl.71
PI 0060, PF 0066
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PMID: 22691211 [PubMed]

Received: 30/11/2011
Accepted : 01/02/2012
In Press: 30/05/2012
Published: 31/05/2012


To estimate the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and its clinical relevance with other manifestations in Chinese patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
A prospective cross-sectional study of 205 Chinese patients with SSc was conducted at Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH). GER was diagnosed as mild heartburn or regurgitation ≥2 days per week, or moderate/severe heartburn or regurgitation ≥1 day a week. PAH was defined as pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) >45mmHg at rest as estimated by transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data were calculated between GER and non-GER groups, and relative examinations including a six-minute walk test, pulmonary function test and modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS) were also performed.
The prevalence of GER was 43.90% (90/205) among 205 Chinese patients with SSc. The presence of Raynaud phenomenon (98.9% vs. 92.2%), fingertip ulcers (56.7% vs. 51.3%), pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (18.89% vs. 6.96%, respectively), and all gastrointestinal tract manifestations occurred significantly more frequent in patients with GER than in patients without GER, respectively (p<0.05). There were no differences in the development of any autoantibody between GER patients and non-GER patients (p>0.05). Echocardiography showed that the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was lower (62.27±10.48 vs. 70.09±5.26, respectively) and pericarditis was more frequent (22.6% vs. 11.0%, respectively) in SSc-related GER than in SSc patients without GER, respectively. The New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class of SSc-related GER was worse than patients without GER (p=0.015). A pulmonary function test showed that forced vital capacity FVC% (78.93±17.90 vs. 84.55±17.45, respectively, p=0.042), forced expiratory volume FEV1% (77.12±15.65 vs. 84.30±16.25, respectively, p=0.004), and diffusing capacity DLCO% (4.76±1.76 vs. 5.63±2.12, respectively, p<0.001) were lower, and the FVC%/DLCO% ratio (1.46±0.42 vs. 1.28±0.27, respectively, p=0.001)was higher in SSc-related GER than non-GER patients (p<0.05). We also found that GER was an independent risk factor of PAH in SSc patients (p=0.030, OR=7.532).
GER is common in Chinese patients with SSc, and patients with GER are susceptible to microvascular damage. Therefore, SSc patients presenting with GER should be screened for PAH.

Rheumatology Article