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Mod Pathol. 2003 Apr;16(4):325-41.

Gastritis and carditis.

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  • 1University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Dyspepsia is a common clinical problem. Its causes include peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux, and functional (nonulcer) dyspepsia. A detailed clinical description of pain does not reliably differentiate the cause. Approximately 80% of gastroscopies are performed for the investigation of dyspepsia. "Gastritis" is diagnosed endoscopically in 59% of all stomachs, although in only 3% are the changes severe. Pathologic examination of unselected gastric biopsy specimens reveals that abnormalities are present in 62-73%, but there is only a weak correlation between endoscopic and histologic findings. For these reasons, it is recommended that endoscopic examination should always be accompanied by biopsy. Ideally, biopsies should be taken in a systematic fashion to include sampling of antrum and corpus. Recent evidence suggests that gastric infection by Helicobacter pylori initially presents as a superficial gastritis. Later it may become atrophic with development of intestinal metaplasia. The onset of atrophic changes may be related to the duration of infection, the strain of the infecting organism, associated dietary factors, or as-yet undefined host factors related to immunity. Persistent superficial gastritis predisposes to duodenal ulcer and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma. Atrophic gastritis predisposes to gastric ulcer and adenocarcinoma. Evidence is accumulating that in some patients, pernicious anemia may be an end result of H. pylori-induced atrophic gastritis. Reactive gastropathy is a relatively common finding in gastric biopsies; in most instances it is associated with either reflux of duodenal contents or therapy with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Lymphocytic gastritis, eosinophilic gastritis, and the gastritis associated with Crohn's disease are distinct morphologic entities. Lymphocytic gastritis and eosinophilic gastritis have a variety of clinical associations. Carditis is a controversial topic: currently opinions are divided as to whether it is the result of gastroesophageal reflux or a proximal extension of H. pylori infection from the remainder of the stomach.

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