Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Pulmonary Diseases Associated with Aspergillosis: Is There a Connection?


Gamaletsou MN, Denning DW.
Mycopathologia. 2017 Jul 12.


We studied the relationship between GORD and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA), or Aspergillus bronchitis.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is well known to initiate or exacerbate pulmonary inflammatory conditions, inducing bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease.

We reviewed four patients referred with elevated Aspergillus serology markers and marked pulmonary symptoms for ABPA, CPA, and Aspergillus bronchitis, and discussed the underlying pathophysiological relationship with GORD. Data were collected retrospectively from medical records included age, gender, predisposing factors for ABPA, chronic pulmonary aspergillosis, or Aspergillus bronchitis; presence of nocturnal reflux, nausea, epigastric pain, Medical Research Council dyspnea scale score, pH manometry data, endoscopic results (ulcers, Barrett's esophagus), treatment of GORD [proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), surgical operation]; history of smoking, alcohol consumption; concomitant COPD; serological markers (anti-Aspergillus IgG, anti-Aspergillus IgE), and antifungal treatment.

Four patients with GORD were studied; following PPIs administration two achieved clinical improvement. One had ABPA, one CPA, and two had Aspergillus bronchitis; median age was 57 years [range 39-71]; males-to-females ratio was 1:3. Serological markers for aspergillosis were: median total IgE antibodies 573 KIU/L [range 13.1-850], median Aspergillus IgE-specific antibodies 1.2 kAU/L [range <0.4-24.7], and median Aspergillus IgG titers 71 mg/L [range 20-119]. Aspergillus fumigatus grew in one sputum sample.

Clinicians caring for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease presenting with elevated Aspergillus IgG or IgE antibodies should maintain a high index of suspicion for this association and proceed to appropriate evaluations, including laryngoscopy and endoscopy, initiating specific PPI-directed therapy when indicated.

KEYWORDS: Aspergillus lung disease; Gastroesophageal reflux