We evaluated the frequency with which Barrett's esophagus (BE) occurs in patients with symptomatic reflux esophagitis, and compared the clinical endoscopic and manometric features of patients with Barrett's esophagus with those of patients who had non-Barrett's esophagitis (NBE). The effect of 6 months' medical treatment on BE patients was reevaluated by repeating manometry, endoscopy, and biopsy. Esophageal manometry was performed by perfusion technique and endoscopic biopsies were obtained. There were 180 patients; 20 (11%) were found to have BE. The vast majority of BE patients were caucasians. BE patients had symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux for a longer time than did NBE patients. Mean lower esophageal sphincter pressure in BE patients was lower than that in NBE patients. On medical treatment, the severity of esophagitis as judged by endoscopic criteria in BE patients was reduced, but there was no increase in lower esophageal sphincter pressure and no regression of the columnar epithelium.