Sievering Surgical Clinic

Sieveringer St 9, A-1190 Vienna Tel: 328 8777

Gastroenterology Unit


Diagnosis & Treatment


Patient information on digestive disorder

AKA: pyrosis, dyspesia, acid indigestion


Heartburn, also known as pyrosis or acid indigestion is a burning sensation in the center of the chest, just behind the breastbone or in the epigastric groove. Since pain often rises in the chest it may mimic heart disease or vice-versa which could lead to misdiagnosis.

Heartburn is usually associated with regurgitation of gastric acid (gastric reflux) or duodenal acid (duodenogastric reflux) which is the major symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)..



The terms dyspepsia and indigestion are often used interchangeably with heartburn, though a dyspepsia is defined as a combination of epigastric pain and bloating caused by inhibited gastric motility. Heartburn is commonly used interchangeably with gastroesophageal reflux disease rather than just to describe a symptom of burning in one's chest.

Causes of abnormal weight loss

There are many causes of unintentional weight loss including:


  • Altough some patients may realise themselves that they have lost weight family or friends will notice first a change.

  • A thorough history and examination are essential in establishing the underlying cause and identifying appropriate investigations.

  • Associated symptoms may include:

    • Gastrointestinal symptoms.

    • Lethargy, weakness.

    • An underlying condition, e.g. chronic infection, heart.

    • Alcohol or drug abuse.

    • Anorexia nervosa.

Differential diagnosis

Severe generalised muscle wasting is also seen as part of a number of degenerative neurological and muscle diseases and in cardiac failure.


  • A thorough check-up isimperative.

Investigations will depend on the context of the weight loss and should endoscopy and autoimmune disease screen.


| 25.01.2011 | Read more | Print |


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