Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disorder in adults and children. The global prevalence of GERD is high and increasing. Non-erosive reflux disease is the most common phenotype of GERD. Heartburn and regurgitation are considered classic symptoms but GERD may present with various atypical and extra-oesophageal manifestations. The pathophysiology of GERD is multifactorial and different mechanisms may result in GERD symptoms, including gastric composition and motility, anti-reflux barrier, refluxate characteristics, clearance mechanisms, mucosal integrity and symptom perception.
In clinical practice, the diagnosis of GERD is commonly established on the basis of response to anti-reflux treatment; however, a more accurate diagnosis requires testing that includes upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy and reflux monitoring. New techniques and new reflux testing parameters help to better phenotype the condition. In children, the diagnosis of GERD is primarily based on history and physical examination and treatment vary with age.
Treatment in adults includes a combination of lifestyle modifications with pharmacological, endoscopic or surgical intervention. In refractory GERD, optimization of proton-pump inhibitor treatment should be attempted before a series of diagnostic tests to assess the patient’s phenotype.