Non-erosive reflux disease - Defining the entity and delineating the management
In the developed world, most patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) do not exhibit erosions when examined by standard white light endoscopy. Despite the high prevalence of such non-erosive reflux disease (NERD), relatively little is known of its underlying pathophysiology, hence there is no clear guide to clinical management. To establish areas of agreement or uncertainty in NERD, an international meeting was held in Vevey, Switzerland, in late 2007. The goal was to document current thinking in the areas of clinical presentation, assessment of clinical outcome, pathobiological mechanisms, and define optimal clinical strategies to diagnose and manage NERD. After extensive debates, the modified Delphi technique was utilized to reach a consensus on 85 specific statements. In addition, it was proposed that NERD be defined as 'a subcategory of GERD characterised by troublesome reflux-related symptoms in the absence of esophageal mucosal erosions/breaks at conventional endoscopy and without recent acid suppressive therapy'. Evidence in support of this diagnosis may include responsiveness to acid suppression therapy, abnormal reflux monitoring or the identification of specific novel endoscopic findings. Defining the current state of knowledge in NERD should help improve the elucidation and management of this condition in the future.