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Primary-care physicians' perceptions and practices on the management of GERD: results of a national survey.

Chey WD, Inadomi JM, Booher AM, Sharma VK, Fendrick AM, Howden CW. Primary-care physicians' perceptions and practices on the management of GERD: results of a national survey. The American journal of gastroenterology. 2005 Jun 1; 100(6):1237-42.

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BACKGROUND: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is frequently managed by primary-care physicians (PCPs) although little is known about their current practices and management patterns. METHODS: We administered a questionnaire-based survey to PCPs attending sponsored educational conferences on GERD. Questionnaires were completed anonymously before the conferences and asked about prescribing patterns, indications for surgical referral, and issues concerning Barrett's esophagus and H. pylori infection. RESULTS: A total of 1046 completed questionnaires (97% acceptance rate) were received. Most PCPs prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for GERD without prior authorization and without first using an H2-receptor antagonist (H2RA). Many gave an H2RA with once-daily PPI treatment for patients with nocturnal heartburn. Most referrals for anti-reflux surgery were for inadequate response to medical treatment, although PCPs usually first sought gastroenterological consultation. There was a widespread acceptance of screening GERD patients for Barrett's esophagus. There was general confusion about any relationship between H. pylori infection and GERD; 80% of PCPs tested for the infection in at least some patients who only had symptoms of GERD. CONCLUSIONS: Our survey has identified a number of areas of controversy and confusion related to the management of GERD. We hope that our findings can assist in the development of educational materials on GERD for PCPs.

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