Background: Gastric cardia intestinal metaplasia (CIM), denoted by goblet cells is common. The frequency of persistent CIM is unknown.
Methods: 85 patients with CIM and follow-up endoscopies were prospectively identified during the time period of 10/6/94-12/21/97. The presence of goblet cells was the defining feature of CIM, other metaplastic cell types were not evaluated. AU 85 patients initially had biopsies that straddled the squamocolumnar junction (SCJ) showed CIM, an otherwise normal proximal stomach, lower esophagus, and squamocolumnar junction. The SCJ lay within the 2 cm of mucosa immediately proximal to the uppermost gastric fold and overlaid the junction of the tubular esophagus and the saccular dilatation of the stomach in all patients. The patients underwent endoscopy for many reasons. They were randomly identified based on the absence of a hiatal hernia and the presence of CIM.
Results: Ten of the 85 patients had CIM on repeat biopsy. Among patients with no CIM in the first repeat endoscopy, the degree of cardia inflammation decreased between the initial and first repeat endoscopy, whereas there was no change in the amount of inflammation among patients who had CIM in the first repeat endoscopy. The changes in mean inflammation score was significantly different between the two groups (P = .024). Twenty-two patients underwent a second repeat endoscopy and five had a third repeat endoscopy. Including all follow-up biopsies, six of the 85 patients (7%) had CIM. Four patients who did not have CIM on initial repeat endoscopy had CIM on their second repeat endoscopy, probably reflecting sampling issues. None of the biopsies had dysplasia.
Conclusions: Cardia inflammation is a stimulus for cardia intestinal metaplasia, and a reduction in inflammation may allow the metaplastic mucosa to revert to normal.