Systematic review: Clinical effectiveness of interventions for the treatment of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux

Jeroen M. Schuitenmaker*, Thijs Kuipers, André J. P. M. Smout, Paul Fockens, Albert J. Bredenoord

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux symptoms have a major impact on sleep quality and are associated with complicated gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). We performed a systematic review to assess the data on the effectiveness of the currently available interventions for the treatment of nocturnal reflux symptoms. Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library. All prospective, controlled, and uncontrolled clinical trials in adult patients describing interventions (lifestyle modifications, surgical and pharmacological) for nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux symptoms were assessed for eligibility. A narrative descriptive summary of findings is presented together with summary tables for study characteristics and quality assessment. Key Results: The initial reference search yielded 3067 citations; 66 citations were screened in full text, of which 31 articles were included. Studies on lifestyle modifications include head of bed elevation (n = 5), prolonging dinner-to-bed time (n = 2), and promoting left lateral decubitus position (n = 2). Placebo-controlled clinical trials investigating proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (n = 11) show success rates ranging from 34.4% to 80.8% in the PPI group versus 10.4%–51.7% in the placebo group. Laparoscopic fundoplication is reserved for severe disease only. There is insufficient evidence for a recommendation on the use of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP), hypnotics, baclofen and adding bedtime H2 receptor antagonists for reducing nocturnal reflux. Conclusion Inferences: A sequential treatment strategy, including head of bed elevation, prolonging dinner-to-bed time, promoting left lateral decubitus position and treatment with acid-suppressive medication is recommended for nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux symptoms. Currently, there is insufficient evidence for the use of nCPAP, hypnotics, baclofen and adding bedtime H2 receptor antagonists.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14385
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number12
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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