Gastroesophageal reflux disease--should we adopt a new conceptual framework?

Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Aug;97(8):1901-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2002.05912.x.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has traditionally been approached as a spectrum of diseases. Over the years, this important concept affected our current understanding of the pathophysiologic mechanisms resulting in GERD. Additionally, it had a profound impact on our therapeutic approach and treatment algorithms. However, literature review reveals that there is scant data to support the spectrum paradigm. Consequently, we propose categorizing GERD into three unique groups of patients: nonerosive reflux disease, erosive esophagitis, and Barrett's esophagus. Thus far, studies have demonstrated very little movement between these groups. Although the spectrum concept focused our attention on esophageal mucosal injury, the new proposed conceptual model shifts our attention to esophageal symptoms. Furthermore, dividing GERD into three unique groups of patients will allow us to concentrate on the different mechanisms that lead to the development of each of these GERD-related disorders and thus help us to focus on the specific therapeutic modalities that will benefit each individual group of patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Barrett Esophagus / classification
  • Barrett Esophagus / physiopathology
  • Barrett Esophagus / therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Esophagitis / classification
  • Esophagitis / physiopathology
  • Esophagitis / therapy
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / classification*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy
  • Humans