Hypothesis: Risk factors for the presence and extent of Barrett esophagus (BE) can be identified in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Design: Case-comparison study.
Setting: University tertiary referral center.
Patients: Five hundred two consecutive patients with GERD documented by 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring and with complete demographic, endoscopic, and physiological evaluation, divided in groups according to the presence and extent of BE (328 patients without BE and 174 with BE [67 short-segment BE and 107 long-segment BE]).
Main outcome measures: Clinical, endoscopic, and physiological data, studied by multivariate analysis, to identify the independent predictors of the presence and extent of BE.
Results: Seven factors were identified as predictors of BE. They were abnormal bile reflux (odds ratio [OR], 4.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9-9.7), hiatal hernia larger than 4 cm (OR, 4.1; 95% CI, 2.1-8.0), a defective lower esophageal sphincter (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.4-5.4), male sex (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.6-4.3), defective distal esophageal contraction (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.4-3.5), abnormal number of reflux episodes lasting longer than 5 minutes (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.6), and GERD symptoms lasting for more than 5 years (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.4-3.2). Only abnormal bile reflux (OR, 4.8; 95% CI, 1.7-13.2) was identified as a predictor of short-segment BE (baseline, no BE). Three factors were identified as predictors of long-segment BE (baseline short-segment BE). They were hiatal hernia larger than 4 cm (OR, 17.8; 95% CI, 4.1-76.6), a defective lower esophageal sphincter (OR, 16.9; 95% CI, 1.6-181.4), and an abnormal longest reflux episode (OR, 8.1; 95% CI, 2.8-24.0).
Conclusions: Among patients with GERD, specific factors are associated with the presence and extent of BE. Elimination of reflux with an antireflux operation in patients with 1 or more of these factors may prevent the future development of BE.