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Editorials |

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Reflux Disease: Bedfellows at Best

Peter J. Kahrilas, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

Correspondence to: Peter J. Kahrilas, MD, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, 676 St Clair St, Ste 1400, Chicago, IL 60611-2951; e-mail: p-kahrilas@northwestern.edu


Funding/Support: This work was supported by R01 DC00646 from the US Public Health Service.

Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2010;137(4):747-748. doi:10.1378/chest.09-2496
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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is very common. The more loosely defined, the more common it is. In a telephone survey accessing >20,000 randomly selected US residents, 22% report having heartburn at least once a month.1 Even using a more restrictive definition, GERD is common. A population-based endoscopy study of 1,000 Scandinavians found a 15.5% prevalence of esophagitis.2 Herein lies the problem in examining the relationship between GERD and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Are we simply looking at two common conditions that may well coexist in an individual? Do they commonly coexist because of shared risk factors? Or does a causal relationship exist between them?

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