Intended for healthcare professionals


“Functional” should not be shorthand for “I don't know” in dyspepsia

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 09 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:364
  1. David L Wingate, emeritus professor of gastroenterology (
  1. Barts and The London School of Medicine, London E1 2AJ

    EDITOR—With reference to the article by Talley et al on dyspepsia, it is saddening to see the perpetuation of the term “functional” as shorthand for “I don't know the nature of the problem.”1 Dyspepsia is the commonest presenting gastrointestinal symptom. Dyspepsia of recent onset, sometimes accompanied by weight loss, rings alarm bells over the possibility of malignancy and dictates the need for endoscopy, but most patients do not fit this paradigm.

    The commonest cause of non-malignant dyspepsia is gastro-oesophageal reflux. This is a true …

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