The clinical and physiological features of patients with short segments of columnar-lined esophagus (CLE) with and without intestinal metaplasia (IM) are distinct.
Retrospective case series.
University tertiary referral center.
Sixty-five consecutive patients with a 2-cm or shorter length of endoscopically visible CLE.
The type of CLE and the presence of Helicobacter pylori were determined by histopathologic examination of esophageal and gastric antrum biopsy specimens. All patients underwent esophageal manometry and simultaneous 24-hour pH and bilirubin monitoring.
Main Outcome Measures
Clinical and physiological data were compared in patients with and without IM.
Thirty-six patients had IM and 29 had cardiac-type mucosa without IM in biopsy specimens from the CLE. There was no significant difference in age or sex distribution, but the duration of symptoms was significantly longer in patients with IM (10 vs 5 years; P =.03). Abnormal esophageal acid exposure was found in 30 (83%) of 36 patients with IM and 23 (79%) of 29 patients without IM. The prevalence of abnormal bilirubin exposure was significantly higher in patients with IM (75% [27/36]) than in those without IM (41% [12/29]; P =.01). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of H pylori infection between the 2 groups (8% vs 10%;P >.99).
Patients with short segments of CLE and IM have similar esophageal acid exposure but significantly higher frequency of abnormal bilirubin exposure and longer median duration of reflux symptoms than patients without IM. Therefore, CLE, regardless of histological type, is a manifestation of gastroesophageal reflux disease. The presence of duodenoesophageal reflux and the duration of reflux seem to be important in the pathogenesis of IM.