Risk factors of oesophagitis in arthritic patients

Benjamin Avidan, Amnon Sonnenberg*, Thomas G. Schnell, Elly Budiman-Mak, Stephen J. Sontag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The risk factors that precipitate the occurrence of oesophageal mucosal injury in patients on continuous nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy are unknown. Methods Outpatients who regularly consumed NSAIDs for osteoarthritis were recruited from a rheumatology clinic into a prospective case-control study. All patients answered a structured interview and underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Results Of 450 eligible patients, 195 (43%) consented to be interviewed and undergo upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Oesophagitis was diagnosed in 41 of these 195 patients (21%). The occurrence of gastric or duodenal ulcer in individual patients did not predict the concomitant damage of the oesophageal mucosa. Young age (odds ratio: 1.79 per decade of life; 95% confidence interval: 1.11-2.86) and hiatus hernia (odds ratio: 3.72; 95% confidence interval: 1.63-8.49) both increased the risk of developing oesophagitis. When questioned, all oesophagitis patients revealed at least one gastrointestinal symptom, heartburn being named most frequently (odds ratio: 4.78; 95% confidence interval: 2.04-11.17). The type of anti-inflammatory medication, the use of alcohol and the use of nicotine were not associated with any significant risk for erosive oesophagitis. Conclusions Patients on chronic NSAID therapy for rheumatological disease suffer frequently from erosive oesophagitis. While the risk may be higher in patients with a pre-existing tendency for gastro-oesophageal reflux, any concomitant history of NSAID-induced peptic ulcer disease does not add to the risk. Erosive oesophagitis should be considered especially in patients on NSAIDs who complain of heartburn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1099
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Erosive reflux oesophagitis
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Oesophageal ulcer
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Peptic ulcer


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