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The prevalence of Barrett esophagus (BE) remains elusive in the general populations.The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence and clinical characteristics of BE in a Chinese general population.Between June 2003 and December 2006, consecutive subjects were evaluated via upper gastrointestinal endoscopy during a routine health examination. Patients were evaluated for any abnormalities, including endoscopically suspected esophageal metaplasia (ESEM) and erosive esophagitis (EE). Biopsies were attained from patients with ESEM to confirm a diagnosis of BE. The demographic data and endoscopic findings were retrospectively analyzed.Of the 19,812 endoscopies performed, 56 patients (0.28%) were diagnosed with ESEM and 3129 patients (15.7%) with EE. Twelve of the 56 patients diagnosed with ESEM (0.06% of the total number of patients who underwent endoscopy) were confirmed to have BE after histologic analysis of the biopsies. Patients with BE were older than patients without BE (61.6 vs. 51.7 y), and only one of the 12 patients diagnosed with BE (8.3%) reported typical gastroesophageal reflux symptoms. A majority of the BE patients were categorized as short-segment BE (91.7%) and concomitant EE was found in 4 (33.3%). Smoking, alcohol, and metabolic disorders seemed to be associated with the presence of BE and EE.The prevalence of BE in a Chinese general population was lower than that in other reported studies, particularly in comparison with the studies originating from Western countries. Patients with advanced age and metabolic disorders are risk factors for developing BE.