Effects of Modified Diaphragmatic Training on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Questionnaire Score, Diaphragmatic Excursion, and Maximum Inspiratory Pressure in Adults with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease After COVID-19: A Single-Blinded Randomized Control

Siti Chandra Widjanantie, Ari Fahrial Syam, Nury Nusdwinuringtyas, Agus Dwi Susanto, Rudy Hidayat, Aria Kekalih, Maria Regina Rachmawati, Won Ah Choi, Seong Woong Kang


Background: Although diaphragmatic training has been shown to improve gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, its effectiveness in adults with GERD after COVID-19 has not been evaluated. This study examined the effectiveness of modified diaphragmatic training (MDT) on GERD questionnaire (GERDQ) score, diaphragmatic excursion, and maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) in adults with GERD after COVID-19. Methods: This single-blinded randomized control trial was conducted at Persahabatan Hospital from February to April 2023. The medical records of 364 patients with persistent gastrointestinal symptoms were evaluated; among these potential participants, 302 had symptoms before, and 62 after, COVID-19 infection. Fifty of these patients fulfilled the study inclusion and exclusion criteria and were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 25) or control (n = 25) groups. Four weeks of diaphragmatic training were followed by MDT or standard diaphragmatic training. A follow-up assessment was conducted 30 days after the beginning of the training. Results: The GERDQ score was significantly decreased in the pre–post-intervention group (10.44 ± 2.00 vs 1.84 ± 2.17) and the control group (8.64 ± 0.57 vs 3.32 ± 1.49), with p < 0.001. The intervention group showed significant improvements in the right diaphragmatic excursion (RDE) (44% vs 11.87%), left diaphragmatic excursion (LDE) (46.61% vs 13.62%), and MIP (75.26% vs 23.97%) compared with the control group. Conclusion: MDT in adults after COVID-19 with GERD enhanced diaphragmatic excursion and MIP and decreased symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux by 8.60 points of GERDQ. Respiratory symptoms and other side effects were comparable between the groups.


COVID-19; diaphragmatic training, gastroesophageal reflux disease questionnaire score, diaphragmatic excursion, maximal inspiratory pressure


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