Can heartburn lead to pneumonia?
Ever since a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors were introduced to the market in the late 1980s, the use of these acid-suppressive medications for symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux and other gastrointestinal symptoms has grown tremendously.
This widespread use has extended to the inpatient hospital setting, where patients are often routinely given the medications as a way to prevent the development of stress ulcers.
But, a large prospective study, led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) finds that this routine practice may actually be harmful to patients. In their research, published in of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the researchers found that acid-suppressive medications were associated with a 30 percent increased risk of developing hospital-acquired pneumonia.
The New York Times looks at the study here.