Ambulatory 24-hr esophageal pH monitoring is considered the gold standard for diagnosing gastroesophageal reflux disease. The aim of this study was to establish normal values for gastroesophageal acid exposure in healthy Koreans. Fifty healthy volunteers (24 males and 26 females; mean age, 45 yr) without reflux symptoms and without reflux esophagitis or hiatal hernia on upper endoscopy underwent ambulatory 24-hr esophageal pH monitoring after esophageal manometry. The 95th percentiles for the reflux parameters were: the percent total time pH <4, 3.7%; the percent upright time pH <4, 5.7%; the percent supine time pH <4, 1.0%; the number of reflux episodes with pH <4, 76.5; the number of reflux episodes with pH <4 for >5 min, 1.5; the duration of the longest episode, 12.5 min; and the composite score, 14.2. Age and gender were not associated with any of the pH parameters. In conclusion, physiological gastroesophageal reflux occurs in healthy Koreans. These normal esophageal pH values will provide reference data for clinical and research studies in Korea.
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