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Reflux oesophagitis

Reflux oesophagitis, also known as Barrett[?]'s disease, is inflammation caused by regurgitation of the acid contents of the stomach into the esophagus. Probably a mild degree of reflux is a normal physiological condition and reflux is only a problem when it causes symptoms or other medical disease.

Reflux can cause:

Less commonly and in more severe cases:

  • Regurgitation (vomit like taste in the mouth)
  • Strictures or scarring of oesophagus (especially young children).
  • Barrett oesophagus[?] or dysplasia (a pre-cancerous condition).

In the adult oesophagitis causes discomfort which is treated with antacids or some medications such as proton pump inhibitors[?].

Biopsies can be peformed and these may show:

  • Oedema and basal hyperplasia (non-specific inflammatory changes)
  • Lymphocytic inflammation (non-specific)
  • Neutrophilic inflammation (usually either reflux or Helicobacter gastritis)
  • Eosinophilic inflammation (usually reflux)
  • Goblet cell intestinal metaplasia or Barretts oesophagus.
  • Dysplasia[?] or pre-cancer.
  • Carcinoma[?].

Barretts oesophagus has been regarded as a precursor condition to dysplasia which is in turn is a precursor conditoin for carcinoma. The risk of progression from Barretts to dysplasia is uncertain but has probably been exaggerated in the past.

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