Objectives: Very few epidemiological data on reflux esophagitis in Chinese are available in the literature.
Methods: To evaluate the incidence of reflux esophagitis, upper gastrointestinal endoscopies were performed on 2044 patients (male 1266, female 778; age range 16-82 yr) during a 6-month period.
Results: The overall incidence of reflux esophagitis was 5%, and most of the patients (86.3%) had a mild grade of esophagitis. Hiatal hernia was found in 44 patients (2.2%); those patients were significantly older than those without hiatal hernia (60.3 +/- 10.8 vs. 49.4 +/- 12.1 yr, p < 0.05). Patients with symptoms suggesting gastroesophageal reflux (acid regurgitation, heartburn, and belching) had higher incidence of esophagitis (22.9%, 22.5%, and 24.7%, respectively). The body mass index was significantly higher in patients with esophagitis than in those without esophagitis (25.7 +/- 3.1 vs. 24.0 +/- 3.6, p < 0.05). The male:female ratio for esophagitis was 5.6:1. No esophagitis was found in patients who were less than 21 yr old. However, there was a difference in age group distribution for the incidence of esophagitis. The habit of coffee or tea drinking does not contribute to the development of esophagitis.
Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, the incidence of endoscopic reflux esophagitis among the Chinese is 5%, which is lower than in Western countries.