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Changes in prevalence, incidence and spontaneous loss of gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms: a prospective population-based cohort study, the HUNT study


Objective Changes in the occurrence of gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms (GORS) in the population remain uncertain. This study aimed to determine the prevalence changes, the incidence and the spontaneous loss of GORS.

Design This population-based cohort study was conducted within the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (the HUNT study), a longitudinal series of population-based health surveys in Nord-Trøndelag County, Norway. The study base encompassed all adult residents in the county, and the participants reported the degree of GORS during the previous 12 months. The number of participants included were 58 869 (64% response rate) in 1995–7 and 44 997 (49%) in 2006–9. Of these, 29 610 persons (61%) were prospectively followed up for an average of 11 years.

Results Between 1995–7 and 2006–9, the prevalence of any, severe and at least weekly GORS increased by 30% (from 31.4% to 40.9%), 24% (from 5.4% to 6.7%) and 47% (from 11.6% to 17.1%), respectively. The average annual incidence of any and severe GORS was 3.07% and 0.23%, respectively. In women, but not men, the incidence of GORS increased with increasing age. The average annual spontaneous loss (not due to antireflux medication) of any and severe GORS was 2.32% and 1.22%, respectively. The spontaneous loss of GORS decreased with increasing age.

Conclusion Between 1995–7 and 2006–9 the prevalence of GORS increased substantially. At least weekly GORS increased by 47%. The average annual incidence of severe GORS was 0.23%, and the corresponding spontaneous loss was 1.22%. The incidence and spontaneous loss of GORS were influenced by sex and age.

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • epidemiology
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • oesophageal reflux
  • oesophageal surgery

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