Barrett esophagus (BE) and intestinal metaplasia of gastroesophageal junction (IMGEJ) are rare in the pediatric population. This multi-institutional retrospective study evaluated the clinicopathologic characteristics and natural history of BE and IMGEJ in children.
Data from 20 BE patients (70% boys, mean age: 14.9 years) and 17 IMGEJ patients (71% boys, mean age: 14 years) were retrospectively obtained from chart review. Endoscopic and pathologic findings from index and follow-up endoscopies were analyzed.
Most patients (70% BE and 59% IMGEJ) had underlying conditions which put them at risk for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Increased body mass index (BMI) was observed in patients without underlying conditions (BE: 30.1 ± 9.8; IMGEJ: 23.9 ± 6.3) compared with those with underlying conditions (BE: 19.6 ± 7.8; IMGEJ: 16.4 ± 2.1) (BE, P = 0.02; IMGEJ, P = 0.01). Incomplete intestinal metaplasia (IM) was the predominant histology seen in BE (80%) and IMGEJ patients (75%). Dysplasia and malignancy were not identified in the initial and follow-up biopsies. Concurrent gastric biopsies showed various findings (79% BE and 40% IMGEJ were normal), with 1 IMGEJ patient showing coexisting gastric IM (7%). Follow-up in 12 BE patients (mean follow-up time 51.6 months) showed 100% persistent endoscopic disease and 58% persistent IM histologically. Three of 6 IMGEJ patients (mean follow-up time 24 months) demonstrated endoscopic and histologic features consistent with BE on subsequent procedures. Moreover, a subset of BE (57%) and IMGEJ patients (67%) who underwent endoscopy before initial diagnosis showed nongoblet columnar mucosa above the anatomic gastroesophageal junction.
Increased BMI may be a risk factor for BE and IMGEJ in pediatric patients without underlying conditions. Nongoblet columnar metaplasia and IMGEJ might represent incomplete forms of BE. Our data suggest that these patients should be closely monitored.