Peptest has been used to help identify airways reflux in a range of pulmonary diseases, according to research published in The Clinical Respiratory Journal.

The Peptest diagnostic test detects pepsin in expectorated saliva and is established as a quick and easy measure of the reflux of gastric contents responsible for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and extra-oesophageal reflux (EOR) into the laryngopharynx.

Researchers hypothesised that detection of pepsin using Peptest could provide objective evidence of a contribution of airways reflux in the pathology of a range of pulmonary diseases, such as chronic cough, bronchial asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis.

The study assessed more than 350 patients presenting with various respiratory/pulmonary diseases and four out of five patients showed evidence of reflux or aspiration of gastric contents using detection of pepsin in expectorated saliva using Peptest.

Pepsin was detected even in patient’s prescribed PPI medication that clearly influenced acid secretion but not reflux of pepsin.

The researchers concluded that reflux above the upper oesophageal sphincter and into the airways may not be causative of these investigated conditions but, “the presence of damaging pepsin will certainly be a negative influence that may increase disease severity or reduce the impact of pulmonary medication/therapy”.

So what does this mean in terms of patient’s quality of life and treatment? Peptest’s reflux diagnostic test now makes it a lot easier for clinicians to determine the presence of reflux and the potential risks of disease exacerbation and hospitalisation. This will lead to better control of a patient’s respiratory/pulmonary disease condition.