BACKGROUND: Available data on the prevalence of esophageal and upper gut findings in patients with noncardiac chest pain (NCCP) are scarce and limited to one center's experience. AIM: To determine the prevalence of esophageal and upper gut mucosal findings in patients undergoing upper endoscopy for NCCP only versus those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms only, using the national Clinical Outcomes Research Initiative (CORI) database. METHODS: During the study period, the CORI database received endoscopic reports from a network of 76 community, university, and Veteran Administration Health Care System (VAHCS)/military practice sites. All adult patients who underwent an upper endoscopy for NCCP only or GERD-related symptoms only were identified. Demographic characteristics and prevalence of endoscopic findings were compared between the two groups. RESULTS: A total of 3,688 consecutive patients undergoing an upper endoscopy for NCCP and 32,981 for GERD were identified. Normal upper endoscopy was noted in 44.1% of NCCP patients versus 38.8% of those with GERD (P <0.0001). Of the NCCP group, 28.6% had a hiatal hernia (HH), 19.4% erosive esophagitis (EE), 4.4% Barrett's esophagus (BE), and 3.6% stricture/stenosis. However, HH, EE, and BE were significantly more common in the GERD group as compared with the NCCP group (44.8%, 27.8%, and 9.1%, respectively, P <0.0001). In univariate analysis of patients with NCCP, male gender was a risk factor for BE (OR 1.86, 95% CI 1.35-2.55, P = 0.0001) and being nonwhite was protective (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.22-0.86, P = 0.02). In this group, male gender was also a risk factor for EE (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.11-1.54, P = 0.001) and age ≥65 yr was protective (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.6-0.89, P = 0.002). The NCCP group had a significantly higher prevalence of peptic ulcer in the upper gastrointestinal tract as compared with the GERD group (2.0% vs 1.5%, P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: In this endoscopic prevalence study, most of the endoscopic findings in NCCP were GERD related, but less common as compared with GERD patients.
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