Risk factors for esophagitis in extreme acid hypersecretors with and without Zollinger-Ellison syndrome

Academic Article


  • Background & aims Whereas severe duodenal ulcer is the hallmark of acid hypersecretion in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZE) and similar states, the esophagus also is at high risk. We quantified the incidence of esophagitis and various risk factors that might contribute to it. Methods Sixty-eight acid hypersecretors (basal acid output >15 mmol/h), 50 patients with ZE, and 18 patients without ZE with normal gastrin levels were studied by gastric analysis, serum gastrin levels, and endoscopy. In 44 of 68 patients, esophageal manometry was performed after the esophagus had healed. Results Erosive esophagitis, grade 2 or worse, was found in 65%; an additional 15% had heartburn only, for a total reflux disease incidence of 80%. ZE accounted for 95% of severe esophagitis. Patients with and without esophagitis had the same high overnight fasting gastric residual volume and acidity, as well as basal and peak acid and pepsin outputs. However, patients with esophagitis had a lower median lower esophageal sphincter pressure (LESP) of 15.5 vs. 23 mm Hg in those without symptoms; the critical discriminator threshold was 16 mm Hg. Multivariate analysis further identified frequent vomiting and obesity as positive predictors of esophagitis, whereas Helicobacter pylori was a strong negative predictor (odds ratio, 0.16), possibly related to an elevated LESP in patients infected with H. pylori. Conclusions Erosive esophagitis is very common in acid hypersecretors. Identified risk factors that could promote abnormal esophageal exposure to the high acid and pepsin levels in our population of hypersecretors were vomiting, LESP < 16 mm Hg, and obesity, whereas H. pylori appeared to protect the esophagus not by reduced acid, but through an elevated LESP. © 2004 by the American Gastroenterological Association.
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    Author List

  • Hirschowitz BI; Simmons JL; Johnson LF; Mohnen J
  • Start Page

  • 220
  • End Page

  • 229
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • 3