Perception of gastroesophageal reflux disease in urban population in Pakistan

Nadim Jafri, Aga Khan University
Wasim Jafri, Aga Khan University
Javed Yakoob, Aga Khan University
Muhammad Islam, Aga Khan University
Shahid Manzoor, Aga Khan University
Asif Jalil
Faraz Hashmi, Aga Khan University


Objective: To determine the frequency and health care seeking behavior of patients with gastroesophageal reflux symptoms using American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) questionnaire for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).Design: Cross-sectional study.PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Section of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, from April 2002 to November 2003.PATIENTS AND Methods: A total of 1267 persons above 15 years of age were interviewed using a modified questionnaire for GERD from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), which previously validated in our section as a screening tool in an urban population in Pakistan.Results: Nine hundred and sixty-three individuals responded to the questionnaire. Mean age of the surveyed sample was 24+/-9.3 years. Using the ACG criteria, the overall frequency of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms was 24% (228/963) with 58% (133/228) males and 42% (95/228) females. Symptoms experienced frequently were reflux from the stomach, 58% (133/228), with a bitter, acid taste in the mouth. Seventy-four percent (169/228) experienced this postprandially. Symptoms were associated with spicy fried food in 71% (161/228). Sixty-seven percent (152/228) did not seek health care advice, 32% (74/228) practiced self-medications and 33% (76/228) consulted a physician.CONCLUSION: Gastroesophageal reflux is a common problem in the urban population of Pakistan.