Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is now one of the most common diagnoses made in a gastroenterology practice. From a conventional pathophysiological perspective, GERD is conceptualized as incompetence of the antireflux barrier at the esophagogastric junction; the more severe that incompetence, the worse the disease. However, it is increasingly clear that many presentations of GERD represent distinct phenotypes with unique predisposing cofactors and pathophysiology outside of this paradigm. Three major consensus initiatives have grappled with this dilemma (the Montreal Consensus, The Rome Foundation, and the Lyon Consensus), each from a different perspective. Montreal struggled to define the disease, Rome sought to characterize its functional attributes, while Lyon examined its physiological attributes. Here, we merge the 3 perspectives, developing the concept that what has come to be known as GERD is actually a family of syndromes with a complex matrix of contributing pathophysiology. A corollary to this is that the concept of one size fits all to therapeutics does not apply, and that although escalating treatment with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be pertinent to healing esophagitis, its applicability beyond that is highly questionable. Similarly, failing to recognize the modulating effects of anxiety, hypervigilance, and visceral and central hypersensitivity on symptom severity has greatly oversimplified the problem. That oversimplification has led to excessive use of PPIs for everything captured under the GERD umbrella and shown a broad spectrum of syndromes less amenable to PPI therapy in any dose. It is with this in mind that we delineate this precision medicine concept of GERD.
- Barrett's Esophagus
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Hiatus Hernia
- Proton Pump Inhibitors
ASJC Scopus subject areas