Testing saliva for the stomach enzyme pepsin can help speed up the management of reflux, a new research study has concluded.

Peptest – a salivary pepsin test – is also described as an ‘important diagnostic tool’ for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD/ GERD) and related disorders.

In the China-based study, recently published in the Journal of NeuroGastroenterology and Motility, researchers say that a salivary pepsin test has certain advantages over current diagnostic methods for reflux, such as 24-hour pH monitoring.

The clinical values of salivary pepsin ‘lie in providing guidance for diagnosis and treatment of GERD, reducing delayed management due to misdiagnosis, and proposing targeted treatments to improve the outcomes and reduce the incidence of drug resistance’.

Researchers identified that salivary pepsin level can quickly distinguish true reflux with non-reflux diseases and is ‘important for the diagnosis of GERD patients with predominant respiratory symptoms’.

This study showed that for non-erosive reflux disease patients, the positive rate of salivary pepsin test was significantly higher than the pathologic reflux as determined by 24-hour pH monitoring suggesting that Peptest can ‘complement or combine with the 24-hour pH monitoring and improve the efficiency in the diagnosis of GORD’.

Download and read the study here.