Objectives: To prospectively determine the clinical features, associated esophageal endoscopic lesions, associated gastric intestinal metaplasia, and prevalence of dysplasia and adenocarcinoma of short segment Barrett's.
Methods: All patients undergoing upper endoscopy over a 5-month period were scrutinized for endoscopic features suggestive of short segment Barrett's, and, if present, multiple biopsies were obtained from the suspicious areas. Prevalence of gastric intestinal metaplasia was determined by obtaining biopsies from the antrum, body, and cardia.
Results: Two hundred thirty seven patients were examined. Short segment Barrett's was suspected in only 42 patients, and traditional Barrett's was noted in 45 patients. Short segment Barrett's was confirmed by biopsy in 48%. Clinical presentation of short segment Barrett's was that of typical or complicated gastroesophageal reflux disease in 53%. A hiatal hernia was the most common associated esophageal endoscopic finding; however, none of the endoscopic findings differed significantly from findings of patients who did not have short segment Barrett's. Diagnosis of short segment Barrett's required histological analysis. A significant difference was noted in the prevalence of intestinal metaplasia between the esophagus and stomach in patients with Barrett's. No dysplasia or adenocarcinoma was detected in patients with short segment Barrett's.
Conclusions: Short segment Barrett's is a frequent finding in patients undergoing upper endoscopy. All patients with short tongues or patches of red mucosa lying less than 2 cm above the esophagogastric junction should be biopsied to exclude short segment Barrett's. Large scale endoscopic and histological surveillance studies along with long-term follow-up are required to clarify short segment Barrett's prevalence and cancer risk.