Endoscopic Esophagitis and Gastroesophageal Flap Valve

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The authors studied the relationship of endoscopic esophagitis and gastroesophageal flap valve (GEFV) in patients with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux (GER). On endoscopy, the GEFV was graded as I to IV in 138 patients with acid regurgitation and heartburn relieved by antacids, and in 54 control subjects without symptoms suggestive of GER. Grade of GEFV was correlated with the grade of esophagitis, response to medical treatment, duration of symptoms, obesity, smoking, sex, and age of the patient. Abnormal GEFV (grades III and IV) was more frequent in patients with symptomatic GER, both with and without esophagitis, compared with control subjects (p = 0.000001, p = 0.03). Abnormal GEFV was significantly more common in patients with GER with esophagitis compared with those without (p < 0.00001). There was no significant difference in the distribution of normal and abnormal GEFV in patients with grade 1 esophagitis. However, grade 2 and grade 3 esophagitis were associated more commonly with an abnormal GEFV (p < 0.00001, p < 0.02 respectively). Hiatal hernia is always associated with an abnormal GEFV. Abnormal GEFV correlated significantly with age (more frequent when older than 40 years). Sex, duration of symptoms (>3 years), response to medical therapy, smoking, and obesity (body mass index > 30 kg/m2) did not correlate significantly with abnormal GEFV. We conclude that endoscopic esophagitis is usually associated with abnormal GEFV. It is more frequent in grades 2 and 3 but not grade 1 esophagitis. It is also encountered more commonly after the age of 40 years.

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