Treatment of supragastric belching with cognitive behavioral therapy improves quality of life and reduces acid gastroesophageal reflux
American Journal of Gastroenterology
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Objectives: Excessive supragastric belching (SGB) manifests as troublesome belching, and can be associated with reflux and significant impact on quality of life (QOL). In some GERD patients, SGB-associated reflux contributes to up to 1/3 of the total esophageal acid exposure. We hypothesized that a cognitive-behavioral intervention (CBT) might reduce SGB, improve QOL, and reduce acid gastroesophageal reflux (GOR). We aimed to assess the effectiveness of CBT in patients with pathological SGB. Methods: Patients with SGB were recruited at the Royal London Hospital. Patients attended CBT sessions focused on recognition of warning signals and preventative exercises. Objective outcomes were the number of SGBs, esophageal acid exposure time (AET), and proportion of AET related to SGBs. Subjective evaluation was by patient-reported questionnaires. Results: Of 51 patients who started treatment, 39 completed the protocol, of whom 31 had a follow-up MII-pH study. The mean number of SGBs decreased significantly after CBT (before: 116 (47–323) vs. after 45 (22–139), P<0.0003). Sixteen of 31 patients were shown to have a reduction in SGB by >50%. In patients with increased AET at baseline, AET after CBT was decreased: 9.0–6.1% (P=0.005). Mean visual analog scale severity scores decreased after CBT (before: 260 (210–320) mm vs. after: 140 (80–210) mm, P<0.0001). Conclusions: Cognitive behavioral therapy reduced the number of SGB and improved social and daily activities. Careful analysis of MII-pH allows identification of a subgroup of GERD patients with acid reflux predominantly driven by SGB. In these patients, CBT can reduce esophageal acid exposure.