, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 5-16
Date: 17 Mar 2004

Reflux Esophagitis: Sequelae and Differential Diagnosis in Infants and Children Including Eosinophilic Esophagitis

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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition in infants and children and has many clinical mimics. Most pediatric pathology departments process many mucosal biopsies from the proximal gastrointestinal tract to evaluate the presence or absence of reflux esophagitis. Since this subject was last reviewed in the 1997 edition of Perspectives in Pediatric Pathology devoted to gastrointestinal diseases in children (Dahms BB. Reflux esophagitis and sequelae in infants and children. In: Dahms BB, Qualman SJ, eds. Gastrointestinal Disease. Perspectives in Pediatric Pathology, vol. 20. Basel: Karger, 1997;14–34), progress in the field has allowed recognition of additional presenting symptoms and treatments of GERD. Histologic criteria for diagnosing reflux esophagitis have not changed. However, the entity of eosinophilic esophagitis has emerged since 1997 and has been defined well enough to allow it to be distinguished from reflux esophagitis, with which it was probably previously confused. Refinements (though not simplification!) in the definition of Barrett esophagus are still in evolution. This review will summarize these newer concepts and briefly review the standards of diagnosis of reflux esophagitis.