, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 194-201

Histologic evaluation of chronic gastroesophageal reflux

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Controversy exists regarding the appropriate method for biopsy confirmation of esophageal reflux injury. We have compared endoscopic pinch biopsy (PB) with endoscopicallly directed Rubin tube suction biopsy (SB) in 40 patients with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Utilizing a plastic tube attached alongside the endoscope, SB at specific sites in the esophagus can be easily obtained. Suction biopsy was rated superior to PB for adequacy of tissue, ability to make an interpretation, and certainty in diagnosis. These differences were most pronounced in patients with endoscopic grades 0 and 1+ esophagitis in which 59% of PBs were uninterpretable compared to 23% of SBs. The passage of the Rubin tube was easily done and could be performed repeatedly. Six of 40 patients (15%) developed substernal chest discomfort in the 24 hr following SB. We conclude that SB is the most appropriate way to evaluate histologic changes related to reflux injury and that this method is mandatory in symptomatic patients with minimal endoscopic evidence of esophagitis (0−1+).

The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.
The research reported herein was supported in part by Clinical Investigation Program # 0-06-1398.