Mechanisms of Barrett's oesophagus (clinical): LOS dysfunction, hiatal hernia, peristaltic defects

Sabine Roman, Peter J. Kahrilas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Barrett's oesophagus, with the potential to develop into oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC), is a major complication of gastrooesophageal reflux disease (GORD). However, about 50% of patients developing OAC had no known GORD beforehand. Hence, while GORD symptoms, oesophagitis, and Barrett's have a number of common determinants (oesophagogastric junction (OGJ) incompetence, impaired oesophageal clearance mechanisms, hiatus hernia) they also have some independent determinants. Further, although excess oesophageal acid exposure plays a major role in the genesis of long-segment Barrett's oesophagus there is minimal evidence supporting this for short-segment Barrett's. Hence, these may have unique pathophysiological features as well. Long-segment Barrett's seems to share most, if not all, of the risk factors for oesophagitis, particularly high-grade oesophagitis. However, it is uncertain if OGJ function and acid clearance are more severely impaired in patients with long-segment Barrett's compared to patients with high-grade oesophagitis. With respect to short-segment Barrett's, the acid pocket may play an important pathogenic role. Conceptually, extension of the acid pocket into the distal oesophagus, also known as intra-sphincteric reflux, provides a mechanism or acid exposure of the distal osophageal mucosa without the occurrence of discrete reflux events, which are more likely to prompt reflux symptoms and lead to the development of oesophagitis. Hence, intra-sphincteric reflux related to extension of the acid/no acid interface at the proximal margin of the acid pocket may be key in the development of short segment Barrett's. However, currently this is still somewhat speculative and further studies are required to confirm this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Acid pocket
  • Barrett's oesophagus
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Hypotensive oesophagogastric junction
  • Oesophageal clearance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanisms of Barrett's oesophagus (clinical): LOS dysfunction, hiatal hernia, peristaltic defects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this