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New data show that total hospitalizations with either a primary or secondary gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) diagnosis increased by 216% between 1998 and 2005. During the study period, adult hospitalizations for primary GERD decreased by 2.4%, but pediatric stays with a primary GERD diagnosis increased by 42% for infants and 84% for children ages 2 to 17.


Researchers speculate that the decrease in adult hospitalizations may reflect wider use of medications to manage GERD in adults. For example, in 2004, 27% of older adults on Medicare were using GERD medications, such as antacids and antisecretory agents.


A countervailing influence is the increase in obesity, which has been linked to GERD. Between 1996 and 2004, the number of hospitalizations with obesity diagnoses increased by 112%.


To conduct this study, researchers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality used data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 1998 and 2005 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.


Source: Zhao Y, Encinosa W, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) hospitalizations in 1998 and 2005, Statistical brief #44, Healthcare cost and utilization project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, January 2008.