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Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2012;5(6):581-7. Epub 2012 Jul 29.

An examination of the relationship between the endoscopic appearance of duodenitis and the histological findings in patients with epigastric pain.

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  • 1Dept of Gastroenterology, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK.


The endoscopic appearance of duodenitis is a common finding in patients undergoing endoscopy because of epigastric pain however, the relationship of the visual findings to histology is poorly defined. We set out to ascertain if there was a correlation between the endoscopic and histological appearances of the duodenal mucosa. Consecutive patients with epigastric pain referred for diagnostic gastroduodenoscopy were studied. The visual appearances of 'duodenitis' (erythema, erosions and sub-epithelial haemorrhage) were reported independently by two endoscopists. Duodenal biopsies were taken and assessed for: neutrophil infiltrate, mononuclear infiltrate, gastric metaplasia, villous atrophy and a breach in the mucosa. H pylori status was determined. Of the 93 patients with endoscopic features of duodenitis an increase in histological markers of inflammation was found in 75 (81%). However, histological inflammation was absent or minimal in 68 (73%). Conversely, biopsies from normal-looking mucosa revealed histological evidence of inflammation in 26 (27%). For patients with the endoscopic features of duodenitis the positive & negative predictive value for neutrophilic infiltrate was 39% and 98% respectively. Biopsies from erosions confirmed a breach in the mucosa in only 2 of 40 patients. Neutrophilic infiltrate occurred with NSAI ingestion and infection with H pylori. The endoscopic appearance of the duodenal mucosa is unreliable in determining the presence of histological inflammation. The endoscopic appearance of 'erosions' is not usually associated with a mucosal breach.


Duodenitis; endoscopy; histology

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