Rising incidence of reflux oesophagitis in patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy

Digestion. 2003;68(2-3):141-4. doi: 10.1159/000075308. Epub 2003 Nov 28.


Background: In the literature a lot of epidemiological data is present but little is known on the yearly incidence of oesophagitis and Barrett's oesophagus. For this reason a cross-sectional study was done to explore the yearly incidence of these conditions in patients sent for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Methods: All patients diagnosed with reflux oesophagitis, Barrett's oesophagus or hiatus hernia in a 10-year period were included.

Results: In the period of 10 years 11,691 consecutive patients underwent endoscopic examination. Oesophagitis was diagnosed in 1,633 patients, Barrett's oesophagus in 275, and hiatus hernia without oesophagitis in 1,407 patients. The number of patients with oesophagitis almost doubled, while the number of patients with hiatus hernia or Barrett's oesophagus remained constant each year in this time period. The number of men diagnosed with oesophagitis or Barrett's oesophagus was significantly higher than the number of women. Hiatus hernia occurred significantly more often in women, and was present in 79-88% of patients with active reflux oesophagitis.

Conclusion: This study clearly shows that the incidence of reflux oesophagitis shows a marked increase. The incidence doubled in a period of ten consecutive years. This data should be kept in mind in planning future health-care resources. It can be expected that the use of acid suppressive therapy will be rising in the years to come.

MeSH terms

  • Barrett Esophagus / epidemiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal*
  • Esophagitis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Hernia, Hiatal / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors