A seminar on "Heartburn- A Global Perspective" was organized by Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), in collaboration with World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) on the occasion of World Digestive Health Day 2015.
It was stated that heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest, just behind the sternum. It occurs due to the reflux of acidic contents from stomach into the food pipe (esophagus). It is a common medical disorder and affects about 25% of the population worldwide. In the seminar, the experts emphasized the need for awareness about the causes and complications of heartburn. According to previous research, approximately 24% of the population is suffering from heartburn necessitating awareness about this disease among the Pakistani population.
The speakers stressed upon avoiding smoking, acid enhancing beverages, citrus fruits and spicy foods. It was also advised to avoid large meals and not to lie down at least two hours after meals. Some patients who are unresponsive to these life style changes require medical therapy, however endoscopic or surgical options which can also be employed in certain complications. Highlight the General complications of long term untreated heartburn; the experts said that it can cause inflammation of the esophagus, esophageal ulcer/ narrowing and Barrett's esophagus which can lead to cancer of esophagus.
Describing heartburn in children, they usually present differently from adults with regurgitation recurrent vomiting, recurrent chest infection, wheezing and failure to grow. Apart from above mentioned complications in children extra-esophageal complications are slightly more common like bronchial asthma, recurrent aspiration pneumonia, recurrent ear and throat infection while treatment options are similar to adults.
Those who addressed the seminar included Prof. Anwar Naqvi, Dr. Zaigham Abbas, Dr. Rajesh Mandhwani, Dr. Manzoor Siddiqui, Dr. Muhammad Ali Khalid, Dr. Amir Bakhsh, Dr Ghulamullah Lail and Dr. Ghous Bux Soomro.