Objective: To prospectively determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics of short segments of specialized intestinal metaplasia in the distal esophagus. Short segment is defined as extending less than 2 cm proximal to the esophagogastric junction. This has been referred to by some investigators as "short segment Barrett's esophagus."
Methods: One hundred and seventy two patients undergoing elective esophagogastroduodenoscopy were consecutively enrolled. Patients with known Barrett's esophagus were excluded. All study patients completed a symptom questionnaire. At endoscopy, the presence of esophagitis and locations of the diaphragmatic hiatus, esophagogastric junction, and the squamocolumnar junction were recorded. Biopsy specimens were obtained at the squamocolumnar junction to identify specialized intestinal metaplasia and 2 cm above the squamocolumnar junction to evaluate for histological esophagitis.
Results: Two patients (1.2%) had at least 2 cm of columnar-lined esophagus. Of the 170 patients without 2 cm of columnar-lined esophagus, 16 (9.4%) patients had short segments of specialized intestinal metaplasia. Twelve (7.0%) of these patients had specialized intestinal metaplasia limited to the esophagogastric junction. All patients with specialized intestinal metaplasia were Caucasian, and there was a slight male predominance. Patients without specialized intestinal metaplasia (n = 154, 90.6%) did not differ statistically with respect to age, gender, use of acid-suppressing drugs, alcohol, or smoking history. Pyrosis and regurgitation were significantly more common in patients with specialized intestinal metaplasia involving the distal 2 cm of the esophagus or the esophagogastric junction. Cough was more common in the group with specialized intestinal metaplasia limited to the esophagogastric junction. The groups were similar in frequency of dysphagia, globus sensation, nocturnal pyrosis, eructation, early satiety, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Conclusions: Specialized intestinal metaplasia less than 2 cm proximal to the esophagogastric junction is common in Caucasian patients undergoing routine esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Pyrosis and regurgitation are significantly more common in patients with short segments of specialized intestinal metaplasia, whether involving the distal 2 cm of the esophagus or the esophagogastric junction alone. Alcohol and tobacco use are no more common in patients with specialized intestinal metaplasia than in those without metaplasia. The presence of specialized intestinal metaplasia did not correlate with either endoscopic or histological esophagitis.