Background: Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a common and chronic disorder but long term, prospective studies of the fate of patients seeking medical advice are scarce. This is especially prominent when looking at non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) patients. Methods: We designed a prospective cohort to assess the long term outcome of GERD patients referring to gastroenterologists. Consecutive consenting patients, 15 years of age and older, presenting with symptoms suggestive of GERD referring to our outpatient clinics undergo a 30 minute interview. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is performed for them with protocol biopsies and blood samples are drawn. Patients are then treated according to a set protocol and followed regularly either in person or by telephone for at least 10 years. Discussion: Our data show that such a study is feasible and follow-ups, which are the main concern, can be done in a fairly reliable way to collect data. The results of this study will help to clarify the course of various subgroups of GERD patients after coming to medical attention and their response to treatment considering different variables. In addition, the basic symptoms and biological database will fuel further molecular epidemiologic studies.
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