The continuum of GERD complications
M. Brian Fennerty, MD
Division of Gastroenterology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Ore
Correspondence: M. Brian Fennerty, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Oregon Health and Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, PV-310, Portland, OR 97201-3098
Complications of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) run the gamut from erosive esophagitis to esophageal cancer, but all are linked to repeated exposure of the esophagus to caustic gastric and duodenal acid. Progression from one complication to another is not clearly established across the GERD continuum, although there is a clear progression from the serious complication of Barrett's esophagus to esophageal adenocarcinoma. This review examines the range of complications that can arise from chronic GERD, underscoring the need to view heartburn as a symptom of a potentially serious condition.