Although the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has been increasing in Japan, little is known concerning the prevalence and severity of GERD in pediatric patients. This study compared the prevalence and severity of endoscopically proven GERD in pediatric patients over a 15-year period seen at an endoscopy center in Japan.
This was a retrospective chart review of Japanese children between the ages of 5 and 18 years undergoing esophagogastroduodenoscopy for upper gastrointestinal symptoms or anemia between 2005 and 2019. The prevalence and severity of reflux esophagitis and endoscopic Barrett’s esophagus were compared between 2005-2012 and 2013-2019.
A total of 564 patients were evaluated; 315 from 2005 to 2012 [average age, 13.8 (range, 5-18) years; 147 boys] and 249 from 2013 to 2019 [average age, 14.7 (range, 5-18) years; 108 boys]. Demographics and clinical features were similar between the two groups. The proportion with erosive esophagitis or endoscopic Barrett’s esophagus increased significantly between the two periods (9.8% to 18.1% for GERD, P=0.0045 and 2.5% to 9.6 % for Barrett’s, P=0.0003). The proportion of GERD patients with endoscopic Barrett’s esophagus also significantly increased between the two periods [i.e., 53.3% (24/45) vs. 25.8% (8/31), P=0.017].
The prevalence and severity of endoscopically proven GERDs has significantly increased over the past 15 years at an endoscopy center in Japan. Detailed population based studies are needed to assess whether this is occurring throughout Japan.

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