The long-term natural history of gastroesophageal reflux disease.


INTRODUCTION:Long-term gastric acid suppression has been suggested as a means to prevent complications of reflux esophagitis. We report on the 20-year follow-up of 2,306 patients with at least two endoscopic examinations who were taking no antisecretory medication before baseline endoscopy and whose long-term treatment was determined by reflux symptoms. METHODS:From 1979 through 1998, endoscopy and biopsy were performed in the Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital endoscopy clinic by three endoscopists. Antireflux treatment was symptom-driven, and endoscopies were repeated mostly for symptomatic recurrence due to cessation of therapy. RESULTS:Of 4,633 patients undergoing endoscopy for reflux symptoms, 2,306 had at least one follow-up endoscopy and biopsy. Over a mean follow-up period of 7.6 years (range, 1-20 years), the esophageal mucosa of 67% of patients remained unchanged, that of 21% improved, and that of 11% worsened. Esophageal stricture requiring dilation developed from a normal baseline mucosa in one of 1,313 patients (0.08%) and from an erosive baseline mucosa in 18 of 957 patients (1.9%). The overall incidence of stricture in patients with gastroesophageal reflux (GER) disease was <1/1,000 per year. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) consumption was associated with less mucosal improvement (odds ration [OR] = 0.67; confidence interval [CI] = 0.46-0.98). Use of histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) was associated with mucosal improvement (OR for PPIs = 1.49; CI = 1.14-2.17). Cohn's kappa was 42%, confirming the results that demonstrate stability of esophageal mucosal disease in the majority of patients. CONCLUSIONS:Symptom-driven treatment of GER disease after a thorough endoscopic examination to exclude premalignant or malignant esophageal mucosal disease is practical and safe for the vast majority of patients with uncomplicated GER symptoms.


J Clin Gastroenterol


Sontag SJ,Sonnenberg A,Schnell TG,Leya J,Metz A




Has Abstract


2006-05-01 00:00:00














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