Barrett's esophagus. Functional assessment, proposed pathogenesis, and surgical therapy

Arch Surg. 1983 May;118(5):543-9. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.1983.01390050027005.


Esophageal function was assessed with manometry and 24-hour pH monitoring of the distal esophagus in 22 patients with histologically proven Barrett's esophagus (BE), 31 consecutive patients with endoscopic grade 2 or 3 esophagitis, and 33 normal volunteers. Patients with BE had less lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure, but similar length of sphincter exposed to the abdomen, than patients with esophagitis. Both groups had significantly less LES pressure and abdominal length than normal subjects. Patients with BE had statistically more esophageal acid exposure than patients with esophagitis, and both differed markedly from normal subjects. They also had a greater number of reflux episodes lasting longer than five minutes than patients with esophagitis, suggesting that the severity of acid exposure was due to a defect in esophageal clearance. The extent of Barrett's mucosal change was related to the level of LES pressure and the number of reflux episodes that were five minutes or longer in duration. We concluded that BE is related to a mechanical incompetency of the cardia and a decrease in esophageal clearance that requires reconstruction of the cardia for effective therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / physiopathology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / surgery
  • Esophageal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Esophagitis / physiopathology
  • Esophagogastric Junction / physiopathology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure