Background: Data on the incidence of hiatus hernia are lacking. A cross-sectional study was performed in a large population of consecutive patients undergoing endoscopy in order to assess the yearly incidence of hiatus hernia in this population.
Methods: Consecutive patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in whom no macroscopic abnormalities were seen and who, in addition, underwent a second endoscopy were included in the study. The presence of newly developed hiatus hernia was noted, as well as the time elapsed between both endoscopies.
Results: Over a period of 8 years, 12 122 endoscopies were performed in 9580 patients. Ninety patients developed a hiatus hernia; this was not the case in a control group of 353 patients. Patients who developed a hiatus hernia were significantly older than those who did not (P < 0.001). The number of women who developed hiatus hernia was higher than the number of men who developed hiatus hernia (P < 0.0001). The total time between both endoscopies in 443 patients was 897 patient years. Ninety patients (20.3%) developed a hiatus hernia. If these data are extrapolated to a yearly occurrence, then 35 of 176 patients will develop a hiatus hernia. It takes an average of 1.9 years for a hiatus hernia to develop.
Conclusions: In the present study, it was calculated that 19.9% of the studied population would develop a hiatus hernia per year. Patients who developed a hiatus hernia were significantly older than patients who did not. The present study also shows that a hiatus hernia actually develops later in life.
Copyright 2002 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd