PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To explore the role of upper gastrointestinal disease in the clinical course of lung transplant patients - including its pathophysiology, diagnostic testing, and treatment options.
RECENT FINDINGS: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and foregut motility disorders are more prevalent among end-stage lung disease patients and are associated with poorer outcomes in lung transplant recipients. A proposed mechanism is the exposure of the lung allograft to aspirated contents, resulting in inflammation and rejection. Diagnostic tools to assess for these disorders include multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH (MII-pH) testing, high resolution esophageal manometry (HREM), and gastric emptying scintigraphy. The main treatment options are medical management with acid suppressants and/or prokinetic agents and anti-reflux surgery. In particular, data support the use of early anti-reflux surgery to improve outcomes. Newer diagnostic tools such as MII-pH testing and HREM allow for the identification of both acid and non-acid reflux and esophageal motility disorders, respectively. Recent studies have demonstrated that early anti-reflux surgery within six months post-transplant better protects against allograft injury and pulmonary function decline when compared to late surgery. However, further prospective research is needed to evaluate the short and long-term outcomes of these diagnostic approaches and interventions.