Low Prevalence of Suspected Barrett's Esophagus in Patients With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Without Alarm Symptoms

Emery C. Lin, Jennifer Holub, David Lieberman, Chin Hur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is frequently used to evaluate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) without alarm symptoms, although the benefits are not clear. We aimed to determine the prevalence of uncomplicated GERD as an indication for EGD, the demographic characteristics of these patients, and the endoscopic outcomes of these procedures. Methods: We collected endoscopy data from a large national database of 543,103 EGDs performed at 82 sites from 2003 through 2014. We identified patients with GERD without alarm symptoms (dysphagia, bleeding, vomiting, or weight loss). Endpoints included the prevalence of endoscopically suspected Barrett's esophagus (sBE) and suspected long-segment BE (sLSBE), defined as ≥3 cm. Results: We found that 73,535 EGDs (13.5%) were performed for a primary indication of GERD without alarm symptoms: only 4122 patients (5.6%) had sBE, and of these, 24.2% had sLSBE. Significant risk factors for sBE and sLSBE included male sex, age, and white race. Other findings included peptic ulcers in 1337 patients (1.8%) and suspected tumors (47 esophageal, 42 gastric, 13 duodenal tumors, 2 others) in 101 patients. Conclusions: In an analysis of a large cohort of patients undergoing EGD, uncomplicated GERD accounted for almost 14% of EGDs; within this population, only 23.6% were white men older than 50 years, who have an increased risk of BE and esophageal adenocarcinoma. The prevalence of sBE is lower than in prior time periods—this raises questions about the utility of EGD to detect BE in patients with uncomplicated GERD. Guidelines for management of uncomplicated GERD should account for these observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-863
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Cancer
  • Detection
  • Diagnostic
  • Esophagus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Low Prevalence of Suspected Barrett's Esophagus in Patients With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Without Alarm Symptoms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this