Effect of asthma and PTSD on persistence and onset of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms among adults exposed to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks

Li, Jiehui; Brackbill, Robert M.; Jordan, Hannah T.; Cone, James E.; Farfel, Mark R.; Stellman, Steven D.


Little is known about the direction of causality among asthma, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and onset of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS) after exposure to the 9/11/2001 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster.

Using data from the WTC Health Registry, we investigated the effects of early diagnosed post-9/11 asthma and PTSD on the late onset and persistence of GERS using log-binomial regression, and examined whether PTSD mediated the asthma-GERS association using structural equation modeling.

Of 29,406 enrollees, 23% reported GERS at follow-up in 2011–2012. Early post-9/11 asthma and PTSD were each independently associated with both the persistence of GERS that was present at baseline and the development of GERS in persons without a prior history. PTSD mediated the association between early post-9/11 asthma and late-onset GERS.

Clinicians should assess patients with post-9/11 GERS for comorbid asthma and PTSD, and plan medical care for these conditions in an integrated fashion.


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American Journal of Industrial Medicine

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September 27, 2016