What is the most serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Updated: May 23, 2019
  • Author: Marco G Patti, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

The most serious complication of long-standing or severe GERD is the development of Barrett esophagus. Barrett esophagus is present in 8%-15% of patients with GERD. Barrett esophagus is thought to be caused by the chronic reflux of gastric juice into the esophagus. It is defined by metaplastic conversion of the normal distal squamous esophageal epithelium to columnar epithelium. Histologic examination of esophageal biopsy specimens is required to make the diagnosis. Varying degrees of dysplasia may be found on histologic examination.


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