Shah ED, Yadlapati R, Chan WW. Optimizing the Management Algorithm for Esophageal Dysphagia After Index Endoscopy: Cost-Effectiveness and Cost-Minimization Analysis. The American journal of gastroenterology. 2024;119(1):97-106. doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000002521

INTRODUCTION: Guidelines advise esophageal motility testing for dysphagia when structural disorders are ruled out, but cost concerns impede adoption. We evaluated cost-effective positioning of esophageal motility testing in the algorithm to evaluate esophageal dysphagia.

METHODS: We developed a decision analytic model comparing 3 strategies: (i) esophageal manometry, (ii) screening impedance planimetry followed by esophageal manometry if needed, or (iii) nonalgorithmic usual care. Diagnostic test accuracy was adapted to expected rates of esophageal motility disorders in general gastroenterology populations. We modeled routine testing for all patients with nonstructural/mechanical dysphagia compared with selective testing with strong suspicion for achalasia. Cost outcomes were defined on national commercial and Medicare datasets stratified on age and sex. Health outcomes were modeled on populations with achalasia. The time horizon was 1 year.

RESULTS: Motility testing was preferred over nonalgorithmic usual care due to cost savings rather than health gains. To commercial insurers, routine esophageal manometry for nonstructural/mechanical dysphagia would be cost-saving below a reimbursed cost of $2,415. Screening impedance planimetry would be cost saving below a reimbursed cost of $1,130. The limit for reimbursed costs would be lower for patients older than 65 years to achieve cost savings mainly due to insurance. Sex did not significantly influence cost-effectiveness. Patients and insurers preferred routine screening impedance planimetry before manometry when the index of suspicion for achalasia was below 6%.

DISCUSSION: Aligning with practice guidelines, routine esophageal motility testing seems cost saving to patients and insurers compared with nonalgorithmic usual care to evaluate nonstructural/mechanical dysphagia. Choice of testing should be guided by index of suspicion.

Hiramoto B, Redd WD, Muftah M, et al. Higher obesity class is associated with more severe esophageal symptoms and reflux burden but not altered motor function or contractile reserve. Neurogastroenterology and motility. 2024;36(1):e14691. doi:10.1111/nmo.14691

BACKGROUND: Patients with obesity often report esophageal symptoms, with abnormal reflux and esophageal motility suggested as potential mechanisms. However, prior studies showed varying results, often limited by study design/size and esophageal function/symptom measures utilized. We aimed to examine the relationship between obesity and objective esophageal function testing and patient-reported outcomes, utilizing prospective symptom, manometric and reflux monitoring data with impedance.

METHODS: Adults referred for high-resolution impedance-manometry (HRiM) and multichannel intraluminal impedance-pH monitoring (MII-pH) to evaluate esophageal symptoms were enrolled. Validated symptom and health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) instruments were prospectively collected: GERDQ, reflux symptoms index (RSI), dominant symptom intensity (DSI, multiplied 5-point Likert scales for symptom frequency/severity), global symptom severity (GSS, 100-point visual analog scale), and Short Form-12 (SF-12) for HR-QOL. Esophageal function testing measures were compared across body mass index (BMI) categories and correlated with patient-reported outcomes.

KEY RESULTS: Seven hundred and fifty four patients were included (Normal:281/Overweight:253/Class I obesity:137/Class II/III obesity:83). Reflux burden measures on MII-pH (acid exposure time, total reflux episodes, bolus exposure time), conclusive pathologic reflux (Lyon), and hiatal hernia were increased in higher obesity classes compared to normal BMI. Class II/III obesity was associated with more normal/hypercontractile swallows, less ineffective swallows, and better bolus transit on HRiM. BMI correlated positively with GERDQ/RSI/DSI/GSS, and negatively with physical component score (SF-12). Esophageal symptom severity and HR-QOL correlated strongly with MII-pH findings, but not HRiM measures.

CONCLUSIONS/INFERENCES: Obesity is associated with increased esophageal symptom burden and worse physical HR-QOL, which correlate with higher acid/bolus reflux burden but not altered esophageal motility/transit/contractile reserve.


Leung R, Lo WK, Sharma NS, Goldberg HJ, Chan WW. Esophageal Function and Reflux Evaluations in Lung Transplantation: A Nationwide Survey of UNOS-Accredited Transplant Centers in the United States. Clinical and translational gastroenterology. 2023;14(12):e00641. doi:10.14309/ctg.0000000000000641

INTRODUCTION: Gastroesophageal reflux disease has been associated with worse lung transplant outcomes. We aimed to assess local practices for esophageal function testing (EFT) across transplant centers.

METHODS: This was a survey study of all United Network for Organ Sharing-accredited adult lung transplant centers regarding local EFT practice.

RESULTS: Among 39/63 (60%) responded centers, 38.5% required any EFT (35.9% esophageal manometry, 15.4% pH monitoring, and 28.2% pH impedance), while another 28.2% may consider EFT based on symptoms. Five-year transplant volume was higher among centers requiring EFT (253 vs 159, P = 0.04).

DISCUSSION: Only a minority of lung transplant centers routinely obtained EFT, supporting the need for guidelines for standardized reflux/esophageal assessment.

Zamani M, Alizadeh-Tabari S, Chan WW, Talley NJ. Association Between Anxiety/Depression and Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The American journal of gastroenterology. 2023;118(12):2133-2143. doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000002411

INTRODUCTION: An association between gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and common psychiatric conditions, most notably anxiety and depression, has been reported. However, the magnitude of this association is poorly understood. Therefore, we aimed to systematically assess this issue.

METHODS: We comprehensively searched multiple bibliographic databases (Embase, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science) from inception to May 15, 2023. We retrieved observational studies that reported the prevalence of anxiety and/or depressive symptoms diagnosed by validated questionnaires in ≥100 adults (aged 18 years or older) with GERD. We also included cohort studies that explored the risk of incident GERD in subjects with anxiety/depression vice versa scenario. Finally, we included Mendelian randomization studies that assessed the cause-and-effect relationship between anxiety/depression and GERD. The extracted data were combined using a random-effects model.

RESULTS: In total, 36 eligible studies were included. The pooled prevalences of anxiety and depressive symptoms were 34.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 24.7-44.2; I2 = 99.4%) and 24.2% (95% CI 19.9-28.5; I2 = 98.8%) in subjects with GERD based on 30 studies, respectively. Both anxiety and depressive symptoms were more common in subjects with GERD compared with those in healthy controls (odds ratio = 4.46 [95% CI 1.94-10.25] and odds ratio = 2.56 [95% CI 1.11-5.87], respectively). According to 3 cohort studies, subjects with GERD were at an increased risk of developing anxiety/depression and vice versa. Finally, 3 Mendelian randomization studies showed that genetic liability to these mood disorders is linked to an increased risk of developing GERD and vice versa.

DISCUSSION: Up to 1 in 3 subjects with GERD experience anxiety and depression. There is likely a bidirectional causal relationship between anxiety/depression and GERD.

Bailey ME, Borges LF, Goldberg HJ, et al. Abnormal bolus reflux on impedance-pH testing independently predicts 3-year pulmonary outcome and mortality in pulmonary fibrosis. Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology. 2023;38(11):1998-2005. doi:10.1111/jgh.16325

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Gastroesophageal reflux has been associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), although the directionality of the relationship has been debated. Data on the value of objective reflux measures in predicting IPF disease progression and mortality remain limited. We aimed to evaluate the association between multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH testing (MII-pH) and 3-year pulmonary outcomes in IPF patients.

METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of adults with IPF who underwent pre-lung transplant MII-pH off acid suppression at a tertiary center. Patients were followed for 3 years after MII-pH for poor pulmonary outcomes (hospitalization for respiratory exacerbation or death). A secondary analysis was performed using mortality as outcome of interest. Time-to-event analyses using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression were performed to evaluate associations between MII-pH and poor outcomes.

RESULTS: One hundred twenty-four subjects (mean age = 61.7 ± 8 years, 62% male) were included. Increased bolus exposure time (BET) on MII-pH was associated with decreased time to poor pulmonary outcomes and death (log-ranked P-value = 0.017 and 0.031, respectively). On multivariable Cox regression analyses controlling for potential confounders including age, sex, smoking history, body mass index, proton pump inhibitor use, baseline pulmonary function, and anti-fibrotic therapy, increased BET was an independent predictor for poor pulmonary outcomes [hazard ratio 3.18 (95% confidence interval: 1.25-8.09), P = 0.015] and mortality [hazard ratio 11.3 (95% confidence interval: 1.37-63.9), P = 0.025] over 3 years.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased BET on MII-pH is an independent predictor of poor pulmonary outcomes and mortality over 3 years in IPF patients. These findings also support a role for gastroesophageal reflux in IPF disease progression and the potential impact of routine reflux testing and treatment.

Wechsler E V, Chan W, Shah ED. Reply. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. 2023;21(11):2987-2988. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2023.03.011
Lechien JR, Vaezi MF, Chan WW, et al. The Dubai Definition and Diagnostic Criteria of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux: The IFOS Consensus. The Laryngoscope. Published online 2023. doi:10.1002/lary.31134

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this work was to gather an international consensus group to propose a global definition and diagnostic approach of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) to guide primary care and specialist physicians in the management of LPR.

METHODS: Forty-eight international experts (otolaryngologists, gastroenterologists, surgeons, and physiologists) were included in a modified Delphi process to revise 48 statements about definition, clinical presentation, and diagnostic approaches to LPR. Three voting rounds determined a consensus statement to be acceptable when 80% of experts agreed with a rating of at least 8/10. Votes were anonymous and the analyses of voting rounds were performed by an independent statistician.

RESULTS: After the third round, 79.2% of statements (N = 38/48) were approved. LPR was defined as a disease of the upper aerodigestive tract resulting from the direct and/or indirect effects of gastroduodenal content reflux, inducing morphological and/or neurological changes in the upper aerodigestive tract. LPR is associated with recognized non-specific laryngeal and extra-laryngeal symptoms and signs that can be evaluated with validated patient-reported outcome questionnaires and clinical instruments. The hypopharyngeal-esophageal multichannel intraluminal impedance-pH testing can suggest the diagnosis of LPR when there is >1 acid, weakly acid or nonacid hypopharyngeal reflux event in 24 h.

CONCLUSION: A global consensus definition for LPR is presented to improve detection and diagnosis of the disease for otolaryngologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, surgeons, and primary care practitioners. The approved statements are offered to improve collaborative research by adopting common and validated diagnostic approaches to LPR.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 5 Laryngoscope, 2023.

Krause AJ, Greytak M, Kaizer AM, et al. Diagnostic Yield of Ambulatory Reflux Monitoring Systems for Evaluation of Chronic Laryngeal Symptoms. The American journal of gastroenterology. Published online 2023. doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000002557

INTRODUCTION: Among patients with chronic laryngeal symptoms, ambulatory reflux monitoring off acid suppression is recommended to evaluate for laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). However, reflux monitoring systems are diverse in configuration and monitoring capabilities, which presents a challenge in creating a diagnostic reference standard in these patients. This study aimed to compare diagnostic yield and performance between reflux monitoring systems in patients with chronic laryngeal symptoms.

METHODS: This multicenter, international study of adult patients referred for evaluation of LPR over a 5-year period (03/2018-05/2023) assessed and compared diagnostic yield of pathologic gastro-esophageal reflux (GER+) on ambulatory reflux monitoring off acid suppression.

RESULTS: Of 813 patients, 296 (36%) underwent prolonged wireless pH, 532 (65%) underwent 24h pH-impedance monitoring, and 15 (2%) underwent both tests. Overall diagnostic yield for GER+ was 36%, and greater for prolonged wireless pH compared to 24h pH-impedance monitoring (50% vs 27%; p<0.01). Among 15 patients who underwent both prolonged wireless pH and 24h pH-impedance monitoring, concordance between systems for GER+ was 40%. The most common source of discordance was strong evidence of GER+ across multiple days on prolonged wireless pH compared to no evidence of GER on pH-impedance.

DISCUSSION: In this multicenter, international study of patients with chronic laryngeal symptoms referred for LPR evaluation, diagnostic yield of ambulatory reflux monitoring off acid suppression was 36% and rose to 50% when using wireless pH monitoring. In patients referred for chronic laryngeal symptoms, 24h pH-impedance monitoring may risk a low negative predictive value in patients with unproven GERD.

Shah ED, Chan WW, Jodorkovsky D, et al. Optimizing the management algorithm for heartburn in general gastroenterology: Cost-effectiveness and cost-minimization analysis. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. Published online 2023. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2023.08.026

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Heartburn is the most common symptom seen in gastroenterology practice. We aimed to optimize cost-effective evaluation and management of heartburn.

METHODS: We developed a decision analytic model from insurer and patient perspectives comparing four strategies for patients failing empiric proton pump inhibitors (PPI): (1) PPI optimization without testing, (2) Endoscopy with PPI optimization for all patients, (3) Endoscopy with PPI discontinuation when erosive findings are absent, (4) Endoscopy/ambulatory reflux monitoring with PPI discontinuation as appropriate for phenotypic management. Health outcomes were respectively defined on systematic reviews of clinical trials. Cost outcomes were defined on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services databases and commercial multipliers for direct healthcare costs, and national observational studies evaluating healthcare utilization. The time horizon was one year. All testing was performed OFF-PPI.

RESULTS: PPI optimization without testing cost $3,784/year to insurers and $3,128 to patients due to lower work-productivity and suboptimal symptom relief. Endoscopy with PPI optimization lowered insurer costs by $1,020/year and added 11 healthy days/year by identifying erosive reflux disease. Endoscopy with PPI discontinuation added 11 additional healthy days/year by identifying patients without erosive reflux disease that did not need PPI. By optimizing phenotype-guided treatment, endoscopy/ambulatory reflux monitoring with a trial of PPI discontinuation was the most effective of all strategies (gaining 22 healthy days/year) and saved $2,183 to insurers and $2,396 to patients.

CONCLUSION: Among patients with heartburn, endoscopy with ambulatory reflux monitoring (OFF-PPI) optimizes cost-effective management by matching treatment to phenotype. When erosive findings are absent, trialing PPI discontinuation is more cost-effective than optimizing PPI.