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Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 Feb;5(1):123-30. doi: 10.1586/egh.10.82.

Global epidemiology of Barrett's esophagus.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Changi General Hospital, 2 Simei Street 3, 529889 Singapore.


Barrett's esophagus (BE) is defined as a metaplastic change of the distal esophageal epithelium from squamous to columnar type epithelium with the presence of intestinal metaplasia. There is a striking geographic variation in the prevalence rates of BE. Most epidemiological data on BE are derived from patients undergoing endoscopy and do not reflect prevalence rates in the general population. BE is much more common in the West when compared with Asia and Africa. Although BE is less common in Asia, the demographics are similar to the West, being predominantly found in older men with longer duration of reflux symptoms. Some studies from the West have suggested an increase in prevalence rates of BE. An increase in prevalence rates will have significant implications for health resource utilization and costs, due to the small but significant risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma. Endoscopic surveillance with the aim of detecting early lesions has been advocated. Compared with conventional white-light endoscopy with blind four-quadrant biopsies, the use of image-enhanced endoscopy, including chromoendoscopy, may improve detection of subtle mucosal irregularities and facilitate targeted biopsies. However, a truly cost-effective surveillance strategy remains to be determined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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