The palisade vessels present at the distal end of the esophagus are considered to be a landmark of the esophagogastric junction and indispensable for diagnosis of columnar-lined esophagus on the basis of the Japanese criteria. Here we clarified the features of normal palisade vessels at the esophagogastric junction using magnifying endoscopy. We prospectively studied palisade vessels in 15 patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy using a GIF-H260Z instrument (Olympus Medical Systems Co., Tokyo, Japan). All views of the palisade vessels were obtained at the maximum magnification power in the narrow band imaging mode. We divided the area in which palisade vessels were present into three sections: the area from the squamocolumnar junction (SCJ) to about 1 cm orad within the esophagus (Section 1); the area between sections 1 and 3 (Section 2); and the area from the upper limit of the palisade vessels to about 1 cm distal within the esophagus (Section 3). In each section, we analyzed the vessel density, caliber of the palisade vessels, and their branching pattern. The vessel density in Sections 1, 2, and 3 was 9.1 ± 2.1, 8.0 ± 2.6, and 3.3 ± 1.3 per high-power field (mean ± standard deviation [SD]), respectively, and the differences were significant between Sections 1 and 2 (P= 0.0086) and between Sections 2 and 3 (P < 0.0001). The palisade vessel caliber in Sections 1, 2, and 3 was 127.6 ± 52.4 µm, 149.6 ± 58.6 µm, and 199.5 ± 75.1 µm (mean ± SD), respectively, and the differences between Sections 1 and 2, and between Sections 2 and 3, were significant (P < 0.0001). With regard to branching form, the frequency of branching was highest in Section 1, and the 'normal Y' shape was observed more frequently than in Sections 2 and 3. Toward the oral side, the frequency of branching diminished, and the frequency of the 'upside down Y' shape increased. The differences in branching form were significant among the three sections (P < 0.0001). These results indicate that the density of palisade vessels is highest near the SCJ, and that towards their upper limit they gradually become more confluent and show an increase of thickness. Within a limited area near the SCJ, observations of branching form suggest that palisade vessels merge abruptly on the distal side. We have demonstrated that palisade vessels are a useful marker for endoscopic recognition of the lower esophagus.
© 2011 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2011, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus.