It has been suggested that screening for Barren's esophagus be directed to high risk groups (Gastrointest Endosc 1988: 34: 18S). In patients with GERD referred for endoscopy, the prevalence of Barrett's esophagus is reported to be 10-30%, with men outnumbering women 3:1. Due to referral bias, these figures do not represent population prevalence. The prevalence of Barrett's esophagus in women is unknown and difficult to estimate. Our aim was to determine the prevalence of Barrett's esophagus in female subjects who had not sought attention for gastrointestinal symptoms. Methods: Caucasian females were referred for endoscopic biopsy of the duodenum as part of an osteoporosis research protocol. Subjects had not sought a gastrointestinal evaluation for symptoms. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy was performed, and Barrett's esophagus was specifically sought with biopsies of the esophagogastric junction if abnormal. Barrett's esophagus was defined as columnar epithelium extending >3 cm. into the tubular esophagus or when specialized columnar epithelium was found on esophageal biopsy. Results: 182 subjects (age 45 +/-17 years) were studied. Two women, age 35 and 56, had Barrett's esophagus yielding a prevalence of 1.1%. The length of Barrett's epithelium was 2 cm and 5 cm, respectively. Both had specialized columnar mucosa on biopsy. An abnormal gastroesophageal junction was noted in 6 subjects; however, only two were found to have specialized columnar epithelium. Conclusion: In unselected female Caucasians, the prevalence of Barrett's esophagus is not rare (prevalence 1.1%). Gender should not be used as a criterion when deciding which patients with GERD should be screened for Barrett's esophagus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging