Mean Nocturnal Baseline Impedance Correlates With Symptom Outcome When Acid Exposure Time Is Inconclusive on Esophageal Reflux Monitoring

Arvind Rengarajan, Edoardo Savarino, Marco Della Coletta, Matteo Ghisa, Amit Patel, C. Prakash Gyawali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Abnormal acid exposure time (AET) is associated with good outcomes of symptoms from antireflux therapy. Low esophageal mean nocturnal baseline impedance (MNBI) is an additional marker of reflux disease. We aimed to evaluate the value of MNBI when analysis of AET produces borderline or inconclusive results. Methods: We studied a retrospective cohort of 371 patients (mean age, 54.5 ± 0.7 y; 60.0% female) who had persistent reflux symptoms after treatment and underwent ambulatory pH-impedance monitoring off antisecretory therapy at 1 tertiary center in Europe or 1 in the United States. Total AET was determined from pH impedance studies (pathologic, >6%; physiologic, <4%; borderline or inconclusive, 4%–6%). Baseline impedance values were calculated at the 5-cm impedance channel at 3 nocturnal 10-minute periods and averaged to yield MNBI (abnormal, <2292 ohms). The primary outcome was response to antireflux therapy, defined as global symptom improvement of 50% or greater on patients’ answers on standardized visual analog scales. Results: Among the 371 patients, 107 (28.8%) had pathologic AET and 234 (63.1%) had abnormal MNBI. Low MNBI was concordant in 99.1% of patients with pathologic AET, in 91.2% with borderline AET, and in 33.7% with physiologic AET. During 38.7 ± 0.8 months of follow-up evaluation, 43.0% of patients had improved symptoms with medical therapy and 76.2% had improved symptoms with surgical antireflux therapy (P <.0001). When MNBI was low, response to medical therapy did not differ significantly between patients with borderline AET and patients with pathologic AET (P =.44), but did differ significantly when each group was compared with patients with physiologic AET, regardless of whether MNBI was normal or low (P <.0001 for each comparison). Conclusions: When low, MNBI identifies patients with pathologic and borderline AET who respond to antireflux therapy. MNBI analysis complements AET in defining esophageal reflux burden. MNBI correlates with response of symptoms to antireflux therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-595
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Acid Exposure Time
  • Baseline Impedance
  • GERD
  • pH-Impedance Monitoring


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