Histological findings after routine biopsy at the gastro-oesophageal junction

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Nov;11(11):1265-70. doi: 10.1097/00042737-199911000-00014.


Objective: Endoscopy with biopsy is an important diagnostic procedure in patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. However, it is still unclear whether histological findings such as intestinal metaplasia, squamous epithelial hyperplasia, and carditis should have an impact on patient management, and whether routine biopsies at the gastro-oesophageal junction should be taken.

Design: Patients undergoing routine gastroscopy for various indications were biopsied twice just below, directly at, and right above the gastro-oesophageal junction.

Methods: Clinical symptoms, endoscopic oesophagitis, and histopathologies such as carditis, reflux disease, and intestinal metaplasia were determined and graded.

Results: Epithelial hyperplasia suggestive of reflux disease (63%), chronic carditis (94%), active carditis (40%), foveolar hyperplasia (75%), and intestinal metaplasia (14%) were frequently observed. For patients with a normal appearing Z-line, there was a weak correlation of intestinal metaplasia at the cardia with intestinal metaplasia in the stomach (Spearman's R = 0.2, P = 0.008), but no correlation with either chronic or active carditis, or with epithelial hyperplasia in the oesophagus. There was no correlation between H. pylori status or symptoms of reflux disease with epithelial hyperplasia. The severity of chronic and active carditis was closely correlated with H. pylori status (R = 0.37, P < 0.00001). The median time for gastroscopy in 30 control patients was 4.6 min, while endoscopy with additional biopsies at the gastro-oesophageal junction took a median of 8 min (U-test, P < 0.00001).

Conclusions: Intestinal metaplasia at the gastro-oesophageal junction was encountered too frequently to warrant regular follow-up in a surveillance programme. Correlation of epithelial hyperplasia with symptoms of reflux disease is poor. We propose that routine biopsy at the gastro-oesophageal junction is not warranted until an impact on patient management can be demonstrated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Cardia / pathology
  • Esophageal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Diseases / pathology*
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / diagnosis
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / epidemiology
  • Esophagitis, Peptic / pathology
  • Esophagogastric Junction / microbiology
  • Esophagogastric Junction / pathology*
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia / epidemiology
  • Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Incidence
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Male
  • Metaplasia / epidemiology
  • Metaplasia / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Stomach Diseases / epidemiology
  • Stomach Diseases / pathology*
  • Time Factors