Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology vol:5 issue:4 pages:251-258
Functional heartburn is defined as the presence of a retrosternal burning sensation in the absence of pathologic gastroesophageal reflux. The underlying pathophysiology seems to be heterogeneous. In a subset of patients, esophageal hypersensitivity to physiologic esophageal acid exposure is involved, and this is likely to respond to intensive antireflux treatment. Antireflux surgery was not studied systematically in these patients and should be considered only in exceptional cases. In the remaining patients, non-acid reflux, esophageal mechanosensitivity, and psychological factors may be involved. Treatment options in these patients are limited owing to a lack of studies. Emerging therapies include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and relaxation therapy.