Prevalence of Barrett's esophagus in patients with or without GERD symptoms: role of race, age, and gender

Dig Dis Sci. 2009 Mar;54(3):572-7. doi: 10.1007/s10620-008-0395-7. Epub 2008 Jul 26.


Background: Gastroesophageal reflux disease is associated with a significantly increased risk of Barrett's esophagus (BE) and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Racial differences in the prevalence of BE are controversial. Our purpose was to study the prevalence of Barrett's esophagus in patients with and without gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, and the differences between these two groups in terms of race, age, and sex.

Methods: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) reports from the PENTAX EndoPRO database for the Endoscopy Unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch from 2005 to 2007 were reviewed. Four hundred and ten patients who underwent upper endoscopy because of GERD symptoms that were not responding to proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy or with alarm symptoms and 4,047 patients undergoing upper endoscopy for other reasons without GERD symptoms were identified.

Results: BE was significantly more common among males. The prevalence of BE was higher in patients with GERD symptoms than those without GERD symptoms. Overall, more cases of BE, dysplasia, and adenocarcinoma were found among the patients without GERD symptoms than those that underwent endoscopy because of GERD symptoms. The prevalence of BE among Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, and "other" groups with GERD symptoms were 5%, 2.56%, 4.4%, and 0%, respectively. The prevalence of BE among these racial groups without GERD symptoms were 1.9%, 0.9%, 1.57%, and 0.8%, respectively. The association between race and BE was not statistically significant (df = 3, P = 0.2628), including after adjusting for the presence of GERD symptoms (df = 3, P = 0.2947). Patients without GERD symptoms that presented with BE were significantly older than the patients without BE (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: BE is a male-dominant disease. The prevalence of Barrett's esophagus was not significant different among Caucasian, Hispanics, and African Americans. Most of the patients with BE, dysplasia, and adenocarcinoma did not have GERD symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / diagnosis
  • Barrett Esophagus / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology