Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) have nearly double the risk of having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) compared with the general population, according to the results of a recent study published in the journal Respiratory Medicine.

Researchers retrospectively reviewed medical records from patients living in a single county in Minnesota with IPF using the Rochester Epidemiology Project medical records-linkage system. Matched control individuals without IPF were used as a comparison group. Comparisons were made between the rates of GERD diagnosed in both populations.

Among the 565 patients included in the analysis, 113 had IPF and were matched to 226 patients who had non-IPF interstitial lung disease (ILD), and 226 population control individuals. In the primary study outcome, the odds of having GERD were 1.78 times higher (95% CI, 1.09-2.91; P =.02) in patients with IPF than in the general population. Furthermore, compared with individuals with non-IPF ILD, the odds of having GERD were 0.46 times lower (95% CI, 0.23-0.94; P =.03) in patients with IPF.

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“GERD may be an important contributor to the development of lung fibrosis,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, it should be investigated and addressed adequately when detected in patients with IPF and patients with non-IPF ILD.”


Baqir M, Vasirreddy A, Vu AN, et al. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and gastroesophageal reflux disease: a population-based, case-control study. Respir Med. Published online January 15, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2021.106309