Visceral fat obesity can be defined quantitatively by abdominal computed tomography, however, the usefulness of measuring visceral fat area to assess the etiology of gastrointestinal reflux disease has not been fully elucidated.
A total of 433 healthy subjects aged 40-69 years (234 men, 199 women) were included in the study. The relationship between obesity-related factors (total fat area, visceral fat area, subcutaneous fat area, waist circumference, and body mass index) and the incidence of reflux erosive esophagitis was investigated. Lifestyle factors and stomach conditions relevant to the onset of erosive esophagitis were also analyzed.
The prevalence of reflux erosive esophagitis was 27.2% (118/433; 106 men, 12 women). Visceral fat area was higher in subjects with erosive esophagitis than in those without (116.6 cm vs. 64.9 cm, respectively). The incidence of erosive esophagitis was higher in subjects with visceral fat obesity (visceral fat area ≥ 100 cm) than in those without (61.2% vs. 12.8%, respectively). Visceral fat obesity had the highest odds ratio (OR) among obesity-related factors. Multivariate analysis showed that visceral fat area was associated with the incidence of erosive esophagitis (OR = 2.18), indicating that it is an independent risk factor for erosive esophagitis. In addition, daily alcohol intake (OR = 1.54), gastric atrophy open type (OR = 0.29), and never-smoking history (OR = 0.49) were also independently associated with the development of erosive esophagitis.
Visceral fat obesity is the key risk factor for the development of reflux erosive esophagitis in subjects aged 40-69 years.