BACKGROUND--Although oesophagitis is the most common diagnosis made at upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, data on the longterm outcome of affected patients are sparse. AIMS--This study assessed the level of reflux symptoms, quality of life, drug consumption, and complications in patients at least 10 years after diagnosis of oesophagitis at one centre. PATIENTS--One hundred and fifty two patients with typical reflux symptoms and a first time diagnosis by endoscopy of grade I-III oesophagitis between 1981 and 1984, were followed up using a postal questionnaire and telephone interview. RESULTS--Eighteen of 152 patients had died, 33 failed to respond, and 101 replied (mean follow up 11 years, range 121-160 months). Over 70% of patients still had heartburn at least daily (32%) or weekly (19%) or required daily acid suppression treatment (20%). Two patients (2%) had developed oesophageal strictures and one had Barrett's oesophagus. Two of eight quality of life scores (physical function and social function) measured by the Short Form-36 were significantly lower than Northern Ireland population scores. CONCLUSION--Nearly three quarters of patients previously diagnosed as having oesophagitis still had significant morbidity related to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease more than 10 years after diagnosis. Some quality of life scores were significantly lower than those of the general population.
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