A non-invasive testing kit with the potential to revolutionise the way reflux associated conditions are diagnosed has been praised at the largest and most prestigious meeting of Gastrointestinal professionals in the world.

Peptest, a UK innovation led by Hull-based company RD Biomed, received a high profile at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) in Orlando, after featuring in a number of presentations from leading speakers at the event.

DDW attracts more than 15,000 physicians, researchers and academics from around the world each year and is the leading event for the latest advances in gastroenterology, diagnosis and treatment of digestive disorders.

Peptest is a small testing kit which is the first non-invasive form of diagnosis for reflux associated conditions. It works by detecting the amount of pepsin prevalent in saliva.

Pepsin is a protease originating from pepsinogen secreted into gastric juice from chief cells, only found in the stomach. Its presence in the oesophagus or more proximally (pharynx or airways) suggests gastro-oesophageal reflux (GER).

Three presentations were given which evaluated the diagnostic potential and accuracy of Peptest in patients presenting with reflux symptoms.

The patients from the various studies (total of 387 subjects) included those presenting with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), hypersensitive oesophagus, functional heartburn and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

The study results demonstrated the sensitivity (77% to 95%) and the specificity (89% to 100%) of Peptestfor detecting those patients presenting with reflux disease with a positive predicative value for detection of reflux between 97% and 100%. The presence of pepsin in IPF patients was associated with increased severity of lung fibrosis.

It is estimated 10-20% of people in Western countries suffer from GORD and prevalence has been reported as high as 34% to 44% from some studies.

GORD is also often associated with an increased risk of a number of extra oesophageal syndromes including laryngopharyngeal reflux disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, chronic cough, laryngitis and voice disorders. These are also a frequent cause of consultation in primary care where it has been demonstrated that 25-30% of patients will present first with reflux related problems.

Professor Peter Dettmar, Managing Director of RD Biomed, said: “These study results display how accurate Peptest is for diagnosing reflux associated conditions. Currently people have to undergo a difficult and invasive procedure to ascertain whether they have reflux disease or not, which costs the NHS a lot of money.

Many patients are put off by invasive diagnostic procedures and if undiagnosed, some reflux symptoms can cause lung conditions and even cancers. For leading physicians and researchers at Digestive Disease week to highlight the use of Peptest further emphasises the huge potential of Peptest.” 

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