Microscopic esophagitis in gastro-esophageal reflux disease: individual lesions, biopsy sampling, and clinical correlations


Patients with non-erosive reflux disease may show microscopic damage. This study is aimed to describe distribution, sensitivity, and specificity of histological lesions (i.e., basal cell hyperplasia—BH, papillae elongation—PE, dilatation of intercellular spaces—DIS, intraepithelial eosinophils—IE, neutrophils, and erosions) and sampling criteria. Four groups were identified on the basis of symptoms, endoscopy, and pH monitoring: (1) erosive esophagitis (n = 48), (2) non-erosive esophagitis with abnormal pH (n = 59), (3) non-erosive esophagitis with normal pH (n = 12), and (4) controls (n = 20). Biopsies were taken at the Z-line and 2 and 4 cm above it. BH, PE, DIS, IE, neutrophils, and erosions were assessed. A global severity score was calculated on the basis of the above parameters and allowed the distinction of patients from controls with 80% sensitivity and 85% specificity. Lesions were more severe at Z-line than proximally and more expressed in erosive than in non-erosive disease, although more than 70% of latter patients still showed histological damage. Esophageal biopsy seems very attractive in non-erosive disease where it may contribute to diagnosis and play a role in the comparative evaluation of different therapies.

DOI: 10.1007/s00428-008-0704-8

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