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Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Jun;57(6):1618-23. doi: 10.1007/s10620-012-2072-0. Epub 2012 Feb 11.

Upper gastrointestinal involvement of Crohn's disease: a prospective study on the role of upper endoscopy in the diagnostic work-up.

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  • 1Department of Digestive Disease, University Campus Bio Medico of Rome, Rome, Italy.



Prevalence of upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract involvement in adult Crohn's disease (CD) has been reported to be very low (0.3-5%). In routine practice, upper endoscopy is recommended only in CD patients with upper GI symptoms. Available data concerning the prevalence of asymptomatic upper GI lesions in CD patients are controversial. The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate the prevalence of upper GI CD involvement in CD patients, irrespective of upper GI symptoms.


A series of 119 consecutive CD patients underwent clinical assessment, including occurrence and score of upper GI symptoms, and upper endoscopy with biopsy samples for histological assessment and Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection detection. In an attempt to further recognize the upper GI tract lesions as CD or other form of inflammation, in a subgroup of CD patients, the histological and endoscopic evaluation was repeated following 12 weeks of anti-TNF-α or other treatments in association with proton-pump inhibitors.


Upper CD involvement was found in 19/119 (16%) patients. Hp infection was detected in 10/119 (8.4%) CD patients. Hp-negative focally active chronic gastritis was found in 34/119 (28.6%) CD patients. At presentation, 12/19 patients (63%) showing upper CD involvement were asymptomatic and 7 (37%) symptomatic.


A high prevalence of upper GI tract involvement has been observed in CD patients, irrespective of upper symptoms. This finding suggests the usefulness of routine upper endoscopy in the diagnostic work-up of CD patients in order to correctly classify the distribution and extent of the disease.

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