Esophagitis is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).It is caused by intestinal infections. Eosinophilic esophagitis has also emerged as an important cause of esophagitis in both children and adults. Other causes of esophagitis include systemic disease and trauma. The prognosis is good with rapid diagnosis and proper treatment. Ultimately, prognosis depends on the underlying disease process. The history findings vary based on the type of esophagitis (eg, reflux or infectious). The physical examination usually is not helpful in confirming the diagnosis of uncomplicated esophagitis. However, the examination may reveal other potential sources of chest or abdominal pain.
The incidence of symptoms of reflux is up to an order of magnitude higher than the prevalence of esophagitis. In the United Kingdom, patients presenting to a general practitioner with symptoms of reflux esophagitis show rates in the 40-65% range. However, a retrospective review of the results of more than 8000 diagnostic endoscopies in Hampshire showed that GERD accounted for 23% of all upper GI conditions.
Treatment begins with hemodynamic stabilization and pain management. Subsequent therapy depends on the cause of the esophagitis and on any complications present. Surgery (fundoplication) is sometimes indicated in patients with severe pain who fail to respond to medical management.
Esophagitis is commonly seen in adults and is uncommon in childhood. The most common type of esophagitis is that associated with GERD (ie, reflux esophagitis). Candida esophagitis is the most common type of infectious esophagitis. Esophageal reflux symptoms occur monthly in 33-44% of the general population; up to 7-10% of people have daily symptoms. The incidence of symptoms of reflux is up to an order of magnitude higher than the prevalence of esophagitis.