The cause of inflammation in cardiac mucosa at the gastro-oesophageal junction (GOJ) is unclear, both gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and Helicobacter pylori having been implicated.
To describe patterns of gastritis in patients with symptomatic GORD.
In 150 patients (126 normally located Z-line, 24 Barrett's oesophagus) with symptoms of GORD, biopsies were taken of the GOJ, corpus, and antrum. Inflammation was assessed using the updated Sydney System.
For the 126 patients with a normally located Z-line, biopsies of the GOJ revealed cardiac mucosa in 96, fundic mucosa in 29, and squamous mucosa in one. Inflammation in glandular mucosa at the GOJ was present in 99/125 specimens (79%), including 87/96 (91%) with cardiac mucosa and 12/29 (41%) with fundic mucosa. Inflammation in fundic mucosa was closely related to H pylori and active inflammation was only seen in its presence. Inflammation in cardiac mucosa was less closely linked to H pylori. When H pylori was present in cardiac mucosa (28/96, 29%) active inflammation was usually present (25/28, 89%). However, active inflammation was also found in 34/68 (50%) cardiac mucosa specimens without H pylori. Overall, 28/87 (32%) biopsies with carditis were colonised with H pylori and 59/87 (68%) were not. In H pylori colonised patients, inflammation was seen throughout the stomach, while in non-colonised patients, it was confined to cardiac mucosa.
Patients with symptomatic GORD had a high prevalence of carditis. This was of two types, H pylori associated and unassociated. Except on Giemsa staining, the two were morphologically identical, suggesting mediation by a similar immunological mechanism.