Researchers at the Brigham and Women´s Hospital in Boston studied patients in emergency rooms who complained of serious chest pain. They measured and recorded pH levels in the oesophagus of 31 patients for two days to determine whether excessive acid caused their chest pain. Researchers found more women than men were being rushed to the emergency room with chest pain that was not related to the heart.

Abnormal reflux of acid that would fit the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) was seen in 57 percent of patients. There are two types of acid reflux, supine, which occurs when the patient is sleeping, and upright which occurs when the patient is awake. In this study, men had more upright reflux, while women experienced both reflux during sleep and while they were awake.

According to lead investigator Dr. Julia J. Liu, “Often the role of acid reflux has been overlooked as a potential factor in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with serious chest pain. But, it is important for patients never to assume their chest pain is caused by GERD until they have been thoroughly evaluated by a physician to rule out heart disease. If they experience persistent chest pain, they should seek emergency medical care.”

GERD is caused by the regurgitation or reflux of gastric fluid into the oesophagus. The most common symptom of GERD is frequent or persistent heartburn two or more times a week.

MEDICA.de; Source: American College of Gastroenterology