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Inflammation of the gastro-oesophageal junction (carditis) in patients with symptomatic gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a prospective study

Abstract

BACKGROUND Recent data have suggested that cardia biopsy specimens may be more reflective of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) than squamous biopsy specimens.

AIMS To assess the distribution, severity, and types of mucosal injury in GORD.

PATIENTS Thirty patients with symptomatic GORD with no or minimal erosions.

METHODS Biopsies were performed at the squamocolumnar junction (Z-line) and 1–2 cm below the Z-line. Injury to the columnar mucosa was scored for inflammatory cells, epithelial cell abnormalities, and for the presence of intestinal metaplasia and Helicobacter pylori. A carditis score above 2 was considered positive (maximum score = 9).

RESULTS Mean carditis scores and percentages of patients with a positive carditis score were higher in Z-line biopsy specimens containing both squamous and columnar mucosa than in those with just columnar mucosa or in specimens taken 1–2 cm below the Z-line. Carditis at the Z-line was focal in 49% of the specimens and was always present adjacent to the squamous epithelium. Goblet cells were present more frequently in the specimens immediately at the Z-line than in those 1–2 cm below the Z-line.H pylori was present in only four patients. The mean carditis scores of specimens 1–2 cm below the Z-line in these patients was significantly higher than in those patients withoutH pylori.

CONCLUSIONS Mucosal injury at the gastric cardia is highly localised to the region adjacent to the squamocolumnar junction in patients with GORD. Morphological studies of the cardia in GORD should focus on tissue samples that contain both squamous and columnar epithelium in order to obtain an accurate picture of the spectrum of injury.

  • gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • cardia
  • Z-line
  • squamous epithelium
  • columnar epithelium
  • Abbreviations used in this paper

    GORD
    gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
    LOS
    lower oesophageal sphincter
    LOSP
    lower oesophageal resting pressure
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