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Reflux causes cough in cystic fibrosis patients

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), a potentially serious chronic heartburn, may trigger cough in cystic fibrosis patients.

Reflux causes cough in cystic fibrosis patients

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), a potentially serious chronic heartburn, may trigger cough in cystic fibrosis patients. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease and the most common type of chronic lung disease in children and teenagers. The defective gene triggers the build-up of thick, sticky mucous in the lungs and digestive tract, which can cause serious lung disease and digestive problems. GER can lead to serious destruction of tissue lining the oesophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, from the acidic contents of the stomach that back up, or reflux, into the oesophagus during or after a meal. To assess the impact of GER on the respiratory system of CF patients, researchers from Belgium studied 33 CF patients, aged between 18 and 55 years. Cough was objectively recorded for the participants, using a tool called oesophageal manometry. It was found that 28 CF patients had increased GER but 16 of these patients did not have typical reflux symptoms. The researchers also found that there was a significant correlation between oesophageal acid exposure and the number of coughs per 24 hours. In addition, patients who showed an association between reflux and cough had lower lung function than those who did not. The above findings suggest that CF patients are at a high risk of reflux that seems to be associated with more cough and poorer lung function and this needs intense anti-reflux therapy.
Gut
August 2008
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