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Multiple vertebral fractures are associated with refractory reflux esophagitis in postmenopausal women

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We examined the frequency of multiple vertebral fractures (MVFs) and esophageal hiatal hernia (HH) in 18 Japanese postmenopausal women (74.1 ± 9.9 years, mean ± SD), with refractory reflux esophagitis (RRE) that had needed a proton pump inhibitor for more than 6 months to suppress symptoms such as heartburn and acid regurgitation, as well as in 57 control subjects without RE (71.4 ± 5.9 years). MVFs (two or more VFs), HH, and both features were found in 11 (61%), 16 (89%), and 11 (61%) subjects, respectively, in the RRE group. All 11 patients with MVFs also had HH, suggesting their strong association. On the other hand, MVFs, HH, and both were found in 15 (26%), 23 (40%), and 8 (14%) subjects, respectively, in those without RE. The differences in frequencies of MVFs, HH, and both between the two groups were significant (χ2 = 7.3, 12.9, and 16.0; P = 0.015, 0.0009, and 0.0002, respectively). When univariate logistic regression analysis was performed with the presence of RRE as a dependent variable and the presence of MVFs, HH, and both as independent variables, MVFs, HH, and both were selected as indices affecting the presence of RRE (age-adjusted odds ratios: 4.34, 11.07, and 10.30; 95% confidential intervals: 1.40–13.45, 2.30–53.22, and 2.96–35.86; P = 0.0109, 0.0027, and 0.0002, respectively). These results show that the presence of MVFs is associated with the presence of RRE in Japanese postmenopausal women, and this association becomes more significant when HH is present. Thus, a kyphotic lumbar spine with MVFs may cause HH and RE by raising the intraabdominal pressure. As recent therapeutic agents for osteoporosis, alendronate and risedronate, are known to be very effective for suppressing the occurrence of new VFs, these agents may also prevent gastrointestinal disorders such as HH and RRE in osteoporotic women when administered to subjects without VFs.

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Correspondence to Toru Yamaguchi.

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Yamaguchi, T., Sugimoto, T., Yamauchi, M. et al. Multiple vertebral fractures are associated with refractory reflux esophagitis in postmenopausal women. J Bone Miner Metab 23, 36–40 (2005).

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