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Research Article

Oesophagoscopy, biopsy, and acid perfusion test in diagnosis of "reflux oesophagitis".

Br Med J 1975; 1 doi: (Published 11 January 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;1:71

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  1. G E Sladen,
  2. R H Riddell,
  3. J M Willoughby


    The results of fibreoptic endoscopy have been assessed retrospectively in 71 patients referred for consideration of the oesophagus as the possible or probable cause of their symptoms. Gross endoscopic abnormality was uncommon but friability of the mucosa was seen in about half of the patients with typical symptoms of "reflux-pain" and a quarter of those without. The combination of radiological reflux and endoscopic abnormality--that is, true reflux oesophagitis--was seen in only a third of the patients with typical symptoms though much less commonly in those with atypical symptoms. Histological abnormality was common but did not relate well to symptom pattern. The results of the acid perfusion test were significantly related to symptom pattern though overlap was observed between the two symptomatic groups. Six of these patients had had or were awaiting surgery to correct reflux and they all had uniformly positive findings. This study confirms the value of the acid perfusion test in clarifying the diagnosis of reflux pain, espcially if the symptoms are difficult to assess. Endoscopy and biopsy added little further information of diagnostic value and could probably be reserved for the small minority of patients who have special problems such as blood loss or dysphagia or where clarification of a radiological lesion is required.