Chest pain, cough could be reflux

Oct. 16, 2007 at 3:09 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Two U.S. studies highlight two little known but potentially serious manifestations of acid reflux – severe chest pain and persistent cough.

In the first study, researchers at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston measured the pH levels in the esophagus for 31 patients for two days. The patients had came to emergency rooms complaining of serious chest pain. Abnormal reflux of acid was seen in 57 percent.

"It is important for patients never to assume their chest pain is caused by acid reflux until they have been thoroughly evaluated by a physician to rule out heart disease," lead investigator Dr. Julie Liu said in a statement. "If they experience persistent chest pain, they should seek emergency medical care."

In the second study, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston tested a group of patients with persistent cough who took acid-suppression therapy -- proton pump inhibitors. The new technique was determined to be a cost-effective way to help "clinicians determine which patients would benefit from anti-reflux surgery and excluding those for whom surgery may have no benefit," study author Dr. Deepika Koya said in a statement.

The studies were presented at the 72nd American College of Gastroenterology annual scientific meeting in Philadelphia.

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