There are few reports about reflux esophagitis (RE) as a cause of severe upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB).
This study aims to evaluate (1) changes in its prevalence over the last three decades and (2) clinical and endoscopic characteristics and 30-day outcomes among RE patients with and without focal esophageal ulcers (EUs) and stigmata of recent hemorrhage (SRH).
A retrospective study of prospectively collected data of esophagitis patients hospitalized with severe UGIB between 1992 and 2020. Descriptive analysis and statistical comparisons were performed.
Of 114 RE patients, the mean age was 61.1 years and 76.3% were males. 38.6% had prior gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms; overall 36% were on acid suppressants. Over three consecutive decades, the prevalence of RE as a cause of severe UGIB increased significantly from 3.8 to 16.7%. 30-day rebleeding and all-cause mortality rates were 11.4% and 6.1%. RE patients with focal EUs and SRH (n = 23) had worse esophagitis than those with diffuse RE (n = 91) (p = 0.012). There were no differences in 30-day outcomes between RE patients with and without EUs and SRH.
For patients with severe UGIB caused by RE, (1) the prevalence has increased significantly over the past three decades, (2) the reasons for this increase and preventive strategies warrant further study, (3) most patients lacked GERD symptoms and did not take acid suppressants, and (4) those with focal ulcers and SRH had more severe esophagitis and were treated endoscopically.