Is esophagoscopy alone sufficient for patients with reflux symptoms?
BACKGROUND: Unsedated esophagoscopy with ultrathin endoscopes is a valuable screening modality for Barrett's esophagus, but the stomach and the duodenum cannot be examined completely with the smallest and best tolerated of these endoscopes. There are no data as to how often disease in the stomach and the duodenum would be missed when using this screening strategy. Our hypothesis is that patients with reflux symptoms, in the absence of daily abdominal pain, nausea, or history of ulcer, were unlikely to have clinically significant gastroduodenal disease. METHODS: Patients scheduled for upper endoscopy at a single outpatient endoscopy unit in a tertiary referral center were screened. The inclusion criterion was reflux symptoms as the primary indication for upper endoscopy. Patients with another valid indication were excluded. A detailed history was recorded and symptom questionnaire completed for each patient before endoscopy; these data were compared with the endoscopy findings. RESULTS: A total of 175 patients were included. Indications for upper endoscopy were the following: worsening symptoms (n=74), ongoing reflux despite therapy (n=27), and long-standing reflux (n=74). Major esophageal findings were discovered in 95 patients. In 10 patients, major gastric or duodenal findings were detected as follows: erosive gastritis (n=8), gastric ulcer (n=2), duodenal ulcer (n=2), erosive duodenitis (n=2), and duodenal polyp (n=1). Daily abdominal pain (p=0.014) or possibly daily nausea (p=0.028 unadjusted, 0.197 adjusted) was associated with major gastric/duodenal disease. Patients without daily abdominal pain, nausea, or a history of gastric/duodenal ulcer were much less likely to have major disease (0.9%) than patients with one of these predictors (13.2%, p=0.00097). CONCLUSIONS: Daily abdominal pain and nausea, in combination with a history of ulcer disease, are strong predictors of major gastric or duodenal disease. Patients with reflux without these predictors are highly unlikely to have a major disease involving the stomach or duodenum, and are suitable candidates for esophagoscopy alone.
Wildi, SM; Glenn, TF; Woolson, RF; Wang, W; Hawes, RH; Wallace, MB
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