The Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Barrett's Esophagus in a Korean Population: A Nationwide Multicenter Prospective Study

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ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of Barrett's esophagus (BE) in the general Korean population by evaluating screening esophagogastroduodenoscopy. In addition, the risk factors for BE were identified.MethodAn esophagogastroduodenoscopy examination was performed in 25,536 subjects who had upper endoscopy screening from January 2006 to July 2006.ResultsTwo hundred and fifteen subjects were confirmed to have BE by pathology, thus the prevalence of BE was calculated to be 0.84%. The endoscopic findings were subdivided into 2 groups: BE without reflux esophagitis (RE), which included 167 (77.7%), and BE with RE, which included 48 (22.3%). The analysis of symptoms showed that only 60.1% of the subjects with BE had reflux symptoms. Chest pain [odds ratio (OR): 1.48, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04-2.11] and epigastric soreness (OR: 1.42, 95% CI: 1.05-1.93) were found more frequently in the subjects with BE compared with the normal subjects. The multivariate analysis showed that the risk factors for all subjects with BE were a male sex (OR: 1.82, 95% CI: 1.32-2.50), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use (OR: 2.02, 95% CI: 1.28-3.20), hiatal hernia (OR: 5.66, 95% CI: 3.70-8.66), and an age ≥60 compared with an age <40 (OR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.07-3.09). There was no significant difference associated with RE.ConclusionsThe prevalence of BE in Korean patients presenting for a routine health check-up was 0.84%, lower than reported in Western countries. Among the subjects with BE 77.7% did not have endoscopic erosions and there were no reflux symptoms in 39.9%. These results suggest that regular endoscopic screening with a high index of suspicion is necessary for the diagnosis of BE.

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