RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
Esophagitis in scleroderma. Prevalence and risk factors.
Of 53 patients with scleroderma (43 women and 10 men) evaluated by esophagoscopy and biopsy, 32 (60%) had erosive esophagitis. Symptoms of heartburn and dysphagia were significantly more frequent in the patients who had erosive esophagitis but often were present in those without this condition. Abnormal motility characterized by loss of peristalsis in the distal esophagus was present in all patients with erosive esophagitis, including the 5 who were asymptomatic. No patient with normal esophageal motility had erosive esophagitis at endoscopy. The patients with erosive esophagitis also had significantly diminished lower esophageal sphincter pressures and increased frequency and duration of gastroesophageal reflux episodes. Stricture was present in 13 of 32 patients with erosive esophagitis and was absent in the other 21 patients. The duration of disease, rate of gastric emptying, and fungal smear and culture were not significantly different in those with or without esophagitis. Treatment of fungal infection for a month had little beneficial effect. The pattern of esophageal motility in scleroderma identifies high and low risk groups for esophagitis and stricture, and can be used to select those who require further investigation, irrespective of symptoms.
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