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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy acid frequently flows back into the esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy. This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of the esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy, causing symptoms such as retrosternal burning pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways (heartburn). This condition may eventually lead to inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body's defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation ( esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis), metaplasia Metaplasia A condition in which there is a change of one adult cell type to another similar adult cell type. Cellular Adaptation (Barrett’s esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy), and progression to esophageal cancer Esophageal cancer Esophageal cancer is 1 of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Nearly all esophageal cancers are either adenocarcinoma (commonly affecting the distal esophagus) or squamous cell carcinoma (affecting the proximal two-thirds of the esophagus). Esophageal Cancer. Uncomplicated GERD can be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. Sometimes, however, stronger medications or surgery may be required to ease symptoms and prevent complications.

Last updated: 10 Mar, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Epidemiology and Etiology

Definition

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder caused by the reflux of stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy contents into the esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy.

Epidemiology

  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency 19%–28% in North America
  • Risk factors:
    • Obesity Obesity Obesity is a condition associated with excess body weight, specifically with the deposition of excessive adipose tissue. Obesity is considered a global epidemic. Major influences come from the western diet and sedentary lifestyles, but the exact mechanisms likely include a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Obesity
    • Smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases
    • Caffeine Caffeine A methylxanthine naturally occurring in some beverages and also used as a pharmacological agent. Caffeine’s most notable pharmacological effect is as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness and producing agitation. Several cellular actions of caffeine have been observed, but it is not entirely clear how each contributes to its pharmacological profile. Among the most important are inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, antagonism of adenosine receptors, and modulation of intracellular calcium handling. Stimulants
    • Alcohol
    • Lack of physical activity
    • Anxiety Anxiety Feelings or emotions of dread, apprehension, and impending disaster but not disabling as with anxiety disorders. Generalized Anxiety Disorder/depression
    • Stress
    • Eating habits (large meals, eating before bed)
    • Pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care
    • Medications ( nitrates Nitrates Nitrates are a class of medications that cause systemic vasodilation (veins > arteries) by smooth muscle relaxation. Nitrates are primarily indicated for the treatment of angina, where preferential venodilation causes pooling of blood, decreased preload, and ultimately decreased myocardial O2 demand. Nitrates, calcium channel blockers Calcium Channel Blockers Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are a class of medications that inhibit voltage-dependent L-type calcium channels of cardiac and vascular smooth muscle cells. The inhibition of these channels produces vasodilation and myocardial depression. There are 2 major classes of CCBs: dihydropyridines and non-dihydropyridines. Class 4 Antiarrhythmic Drugs (Calcium Channel Blockers))
    • Scleroderma Scleroderma Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) is an autoimmune condition characterized by diffuse collagen deposition and fibrosis. The clinical presentation varies from limited skin involvement to diffuse involvement of internal organs. Scleroderma
    • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome Zollinger-ellison syndrome A syndrome that is characterized by the triad of severe peptic ulcer, hypersecretion of gastric acid, and gastrin-producing tumors of the pancreas or other tissue (gastrinoma). This syndrome may be sporadic or be associated with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1. Esophagitis causing increased acid secretion Secretion Coagulation Studies

Etiology

Pathophysiology and Clinical Presentation

Physiology

  • LES:
    • A 3–4 cm smooth muscle structure at the gastroesophageal junction Gastroesophageal junction The area covering the terminal portion of esophagus and the beginning of stomach at the cardiac orifice. Esophagus: Anatomy
    • Maintains a high-pressure zone between the esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy and the stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy
    • Relaxes transiently in response to meals
  • Some reflux of stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy contents is normal, but cleared by esophageal contractions.

Pathophysiology

Factors leading to increased exposure Exposure ABCDE Assessment of esophageal mucosa Esophageal Mucosa Circular innermost layer of the esophagus wall that mediates esophageal peristalsis which pushes ingested food bolus toward the stomach. Esophagus: Anatomy to gastric acid/contents:

  • Increased frequency and duration of reflux episodes
  • Decreased clearance of refluxed material: esophageal motility Motility The motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal Motility disorders
Esophageal reflux

Pathophysiology of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD):
Left image (normal): The LES, a structure at the gastroesophageal junction Gastroesophageal junction The area covering the terminal portion of esophagus and the beginning of stomach at the cardiac orifice. Esophagus: Anatomy, maintains a high-pressure zone between the esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy and the stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy. This prevents the reflux of gastric contents. The LES relaxes transiently in response to meals.
Right image (GERD): An incompetent LES (lower baseline pressure) and increased frequency of TLESRs are among the factors causing GERD.

Image by Lecturio.

Clinical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor

  • Esophageal symptoms
    • Typical:
      • Heartburn (most common)
      • Regurgitation (migration of gastric contents up to the hypopharynx/mouth)
    • Atypical (prompting further investigation):
      • Dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia/ odynophagia Odynophagia Epiglottitis (secondary to mucosal irritation/damage)
      • Belching, nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics
      • Chest pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
      • Globus sensation Globus sensation A feeling of a lump in the throat that occurs between meals in the absence of other gastrointestinal and motility disorders (e.g., dysphagia; gastroesophageal reflux). Esophagitis (“lump in the throat Throat The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy”)
  • Extraesophageal symptoms (reflux into the larynx Larynx The larynx, also commonly called the voice box, is a cylindrical space located in the neck at the level of the C3-C6 vertebrae. The major structures forming the framework of the larynx are the thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, and epiglottis. The larynx serves to produce sound (phonation), conducts air to the trachea, and prevents large molecules from reaching the lungs. Larynx: Anatomy, mouth, and respiratory tract)
    • Laryngitis Laryngitis Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx most commonly due to infection or trauma that can be either acute or chronic. In this condition, the 2 folds of mucous membranes that make up the vocal cords become inflamed and irritated. The inflammation results in a distortion of the voice produced, resulting in a hoarse sound or aphonia. Laryngitis
    • Cough
    • Hoarseness Hoarseness An unnaturally deep or rough quality of voice. Parapharyngeal Abscess/ dysphonia Dysphonia Difficulty and/or pain in phonation or speaking. Epiglottitis
    • Sore throat Sore throat Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the back of the throat (pharynx). Pharyngitis is usually caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, which is viral in most cases. It typically results in a sore throat and fever. Other symptoms may include a runny nose, cough, headache, and hoarseness. Pharyngitis
    • Dental erosions Erosions Corneal Abrasions, Erosion, and Ulcers
    • Water brash (hypersalivation)

Diagnosis

Clinical diagnosis

  • Empiric (no further workup needed)
  • Classic symptoms: heartburn +/- regurgitation
  • Symptoms resolve with medications.
  • No alarming features or extraesophageal symptoms

Ambulatory pH pH The quantitative measurement of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Acid-Base Balance monitoring

  • Gold standard
  • Used to confirm the diagnosis and check the adequacy of treatment
  • Performed for 24 or 48 hours
  • Measures the amount of time the  pH pH The quantitative measurement of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Acid-Base Balance is < 4.0 (tends to produce symptoms)
  • Reliably detects:
    • Pathologic acid exposure Exposure ABCDE Assessment
    • Frequency of reflux episodes 
    • Correlation Correlation Determination of whether or not two variables are correlated. This means to study whether an increase or decrease in one variable corresponds to an increase or decrease in the other variable. Causality, Validity, and Reliability of symptoms with reflux episodes
  • For patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with extraesophageal symptoms
  • For GERD refractory to medications
  • For patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with no endoscopic findings
Esophagus ph monitoring

Ambulatory esophageal pH monitoring Esophageal ph monitoring Analysis of the hydrogen ion concentration in the lumen of the esophagus. It is used to record the pattern, frequency, and duration of gastroesophageal reflux. Dysphagia: This test aids AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS in the diagnosis of GERD and evaluates the adequacy of treatment in those with persistent symptoms. In this image, the device with a pH pH The quantitative measurement of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Acid-Base Balance sensor is placed transnasally, and is attached to a portable data recorder.

Image by Lecturio.

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

  • Not necessary for a typical GERD presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor
  • For alarming features (if complications of GERD/malignancies suspected):
    • Dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia/ odynophagia Odynophagia Epiglottitis
    • Chest pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
    • Long-standing symptoms (> 5 years)
    • Age > 50
    • Anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types/ melena Melena The black, tarry, foul-smelling feces that contain degraded blood. Gastrointestinal Bleeding/ hematemesis Hematemesis Vomiting of blood that is either fresh bright red, or older ‘coffee-ground’ in character. It generally indicates bleeding of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Mallory-Weiss Syndrome (Mallory-Weiss Tear)
    • Weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery
    • Persistent vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
    • Gastrointestinal cancer in 1st-degree relative
Barretts esophagus

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy of a patient with persistent GERD: The image shows replacement of the squamous epithelium Epithelium The epithelium is a complex of specialized cellular organizations arranged into sheets and lining cavities and covering the surfaces of the body. The cells exhibit polarity, having an apical and a basal pole. Structures important for the epithelial integrity and function involve the basement membrane, the semipermeable sheet on which the cells rest, and interdigitations, as well as cellular junctions. Surface Epithelium: Histology with columnar epithelium Epithelium The epithelium is a complex of specialized cellular organizations arranged into sheets and lining cavities and covering the surfaces of the body. The cells exhibit polarity, having an apical and a basal pole. Structures important for the epithelial integrity and function involve the basement membrane, the semipermeable sheet on which the cells rest, and interdigitations, as well as cellular junctions. Surface Epithelium: Histology (Barrett’s esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy).

Image: “Barretts esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy” by US National Library of Medicine. License: CC BY 2.0

Upper gastrointestinal (GI) series ( barium swallow Barium Swallow Imaging of the Intestines)

  • Limited use in diagnosing GERD itself
  • May show strictures, tumors, hiatal hernias, and severe esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis

Esophageal manometry Manometry Measurement of the pressure or tension of liquids or gases with a manometer. Achalasia

  • To rule out esophageal motility Motility The motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal Motility disorders
  • Usually done prior to anti-reflux surgery if this surgery is considered

Management

Noninvasive management

  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Medical therapy
    • Proton pump Pump ACES and RUSH: Resuscitation Ultrasound Protocols inhibitors (PPIs):
      • Most effective therapy 
      • Most common maintenance therapy
      • Accomplish healing of esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis, if present
      • Examples: omeprazole Omeprazole A 4-methoxy-3, 5-dimethylpyridyl, 5-methoxybenzimidazole derivative of timoprazole that is used in the therapy of stomach ulcers and zollinger-ellison syndrome. The drug inhibits an h(+)-k(+)-exchanging ATPase which is found in gastric parietal cells. Gastric Acid Drugs, pantoprazole Pantoprazole 2-pyridinylmethylsulfinylbenzimidazole proton pump inhibitor that is used in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux and peptic ulcer. Gastric Acid Drugs
    • Histamine receptor Receptor Receptors are proteins located either on the surface of or within a cell that can bind to signaling molecules known as ligands (e.g., hormones) and cause some type of response within the cell. Receptors (H2) antagonists:
      • Not as effective as PPIs
      • Can be added at bedtime for patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship on PPIs with nocturnal symptoms
      • Examples: famotidine Famotidine A competitive histamine h2-receptor antagonist. Its main pharmacodynamic effect is the inhibition of gastric secretion. Antihistamines, cimetidine Cimetidine A histamine congener, it competitively inhibits histamine binding to histamine h2 receptors. Cimetidine has a range of pharmacological actions. It inhibits gastric acid secretion, as well as pepsin and gastrin output. Antihistamines

Surgical management

  • Indications:
    • Presence of hiatal hernia Hiatal hernia Stomach herniation located at or near the diaphragmatic opening for the esophagus, the esophageal hiatus. Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernias along with the symptoms of GERD
    • Refractory symptoms after giving maximal medical therapy
    • Side effects of medications
    • Desire to discontinue medications
  • Endoscopic therapy:
    • Transoral incisionless fundoplication
    • Stretta procedure (radiofrequency application to LES)
  • Surgery:
    • Fundoplication:
      • Gastric fundus Gastric fundus The superior portion of the body of the stomach above the level of the cardiac notch. Peptic Ulcer Disease is wrapped around the lower esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
      • Complete (Nissen, 360º)
      • Partial (Toupet, 270º; Dor, 180º)
      • Concomitant repair of hiatal hernia Hiatal hernia Stomach herniation located at or near the diaphragmatic opening for the esophagus, the esophageal hiatus. Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernias, if present
    • Gastric bypass if obesity Obesity Obesity is a condition associated with excess body weight, specifically with the deposition of excessive adipose tissue. Obesity is considered a global epidemic. Major influences come from the western diet and sedentary lifestyles, but the exact mechanisms likely include a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Obesity is present ( BMI BMI An indicator of body density as determined by the relationship of body weight to body height. Bmi=weight (kg)/height squared (m2). Bmi correlates with body fat (adipose tissue). Their relationship varies with age and gender. For adults, bmi falls into these categories: below 18. 5 (underweight); 18. 5-24. 9 (normal); 25. 0-29. 9 (overweight); 30. 0 and above (obese). Obesity > 35)

Complications

Erosive esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis

  • 30% of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with untreated GERD
  • Irregular or linear multiple ulcerations in the distal esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
  • Graded based on severity ( Los LOS Neisseria Angeles Classification of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease):
    • Grade A: mucosal breaks < 5 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma in length
    • Grade B: at least 1 mucosal break > 5 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma (not continuous between adjacent mucosal folds)
    • Grade C: at least 1 mucosal break (continuous between mucosal folds, but not circumferential)
    • Grade D: Mucosal break involves at least ¾ of luminal circumference.

Esophageal stricture Stricture Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

  • Results from healing of erosive esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis
  • Collagen Collagen A polypeptide substance comprising about one third of the total protein in mammalian organisms. It is the main constituent of skin; connective tissue; and the organic substance of bones (bone and bones) and teeth (tooth). Connective Tissue: Histology deposition and contraction lead to luminal narrowing.
  • Causes dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia to solids/food impaction
  • Treated with endoscopic dilation and PPIs to prevent recurrence
Upper gastrointestinal series stricture

Upper gastrointestinal series: A severe stricture Stricture Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis measuring 85 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma along the longitudinal axis Axis The second cervical vertebra. Vertebral Column: Anatomy was observed extending from the middle to lower thoracic esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy caused by reflux esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis

Image: “Upper gastrointestinal series” by Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Tokai University School of Medicine, 143 Shimokasuya, Isehara, Kanagawa, 259-1193, Japan. License: CC BY 4.0

Barrett’s esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy

  • Columnar intestinal metaplasia Metaplasia A condition in which there is a change of one adult cell type to another similar adult cell type. Cellular Adaptation of the squamous mucosa of distal esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
  • Precursor to esophageal adenocarcinoma Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Esophageal Cancer
  • Diagnosed by endoscopy with biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma
  • Salmon-colored mucosa on white-light endoscopy
Long segment barrett’s esophagus

Long segment of Barrett’s esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy

Image: “Long segment Barrett’s esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy” by Japan Esophageal Society. License: CC BY 4.0

Esophageal adenocarcinoma Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Esophageal Cancer

  • GERD and/or Barrett’s esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy are well-established risk factors.
  • Affects the distal 3rd of the esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
  • Appears as mass Mass Three-dimensional lesion that occupies a space within the breast Imaging of the Breast, stricture Stricture Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, or large ulcer on endoscopy
  • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia, weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery, and anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types.

Differential Diagnosis

The following conditions are differential diagnoses of GERD/reflux esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis:

  • Pill-induced esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis: also presents with retrosternal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia; however, a history of taking triggering medication and the presence of odynophagia Odynophagia Epiglottitis since the early stages of the disease help differentiate pill-induced esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis from reflux esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis. Frequently, symptoms resolve on discontinuation of offending medication.
  • Infectious Infectious Febrile Infant esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis: typically presents with retrosternal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways in immunocompromised immunocompromised A human or animal whose immunologic mechanism is deficient because of an immunodeficiency disorder or other disease or as the result of the administration of immunosuppressive drugs or radiation. Gastroenteritis patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship. Decreased immunity and odynophagia Odynophagia Epiglottitis early in the disease help differentiate infectious Infectious Febrile Infant esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis from reflux esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis. Diagnosis is confirmed by biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma.
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis Eosinophilic esophagitis Chronic esophagitis characterized by esophageal mucosal eosinophilia. It is diagnosed when an increase in eosinophils are present over the entire esophagus. The reflux symptoms fail to respond to proton pump inhibitors treatment, unlike in gastroesophageal reflux disease. The symptoms are associated with ige-mediated hypersensitivity to food or inhalant allergens. Esophagitis: also presents with retrosternal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia; however, the presence of concurrent atopy Atopy Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) or asthma Asthma Asthma is a chronic inflammatory respiratory condition characterized by bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airflow obstruction. The disease is believed to result from the complex interaction of host and environmental factors that increase disease predisposition, with inflammation causing symptoms and structural changes. Patients typically present with wheezing, cough, and dyspnea. Asthma helps differentiate eosinophilic esophagitis Eosinophilic esophagitis Chronic esophagitis characterized by esophageal mucosal eosinophilia. It is diagnosed when an increase in eosinophils are present over the entire esophagus. The reflux symptoms fail to respond to proton pump inhibitors treatment, unlike in gastroesophageal reflux disease. The symptoms are associated with ige-mediated hypersensitivity to food or inhalant allergens. Esophagitis from reflux esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis. For confirmation, EGD with biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma is required.
  • Corrosive esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis: also presents with retrosternal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia. The disease can present with injuries to adjacent structures such as mediastinitis Mediastinitis Mediastinitis refers to an infection or inflammation involving the mediastinum (a region in the thoracic cavity containing the heart, thymus gland, portions of the esophagus, and trachea). Acute mediastinitis can be caused by bacterial infection due to direct contamination, hematogenous or lymphatic spread, or extension of infection from nearby structures. Mediastinitis. The history of ingesting a corrosive and the presence of odynophagia Odynophagia Epiglottitis differentiate corrosive esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis from reflux esophagitis Esophagitis Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The major types of esophagitis are medication-induced, infectious, eosinophilic, corrosive, and acid reflux. Patients typically present with odynophagia, dysphagia, and retrosternal chest pain. Esophagitis.
  • Esophageal motility Motility The motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal Motility disorders: frequently present with dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia and chest pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways. These disorders are disruptions of normal esophageal peristalsis Peristalsis A movement, caused by sequential muscle contraction, that pushes the contents of the intestines or other tubular organs in one direction. Gastrointestinal Motility. Esophageal motility Motility The motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal Motility disorders are diagnosed with esophageal manometry Manometry Measurement of the pressure or tension of liquids or gases with a manometer. Achalasia. The disorders may be present on their own or co-exist with reflux.

References

  1. Clarrette D.M. (2018). Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140167/
  2. Kahrilas P.J. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux in adults. Retrieved 22 November 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-gastroesophageal-reflux-in-adults?search=GERD&source=search_result&selectedTitle=3~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=3
  3. Kahrilas P.J. Medical management of gastroesophageal reflux disease in adults. Retrieved 22 November 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/medical-management-of-gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-in-adults?search=GERD&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2

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