Carditis in patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: results of a controlled study based on both endoscopy and 24-h oesophageal pH monitoring


Prof. V. Savarino, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialita Mediche, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.


Background : There are conflicting reports on the role of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Helicobacter pylori infection in the aetiology of carditis.

Aim : The role of reflux and H. pylori infection in causing carditis was assessed in 113 consecutive patients with GERD and in 25 controls.

Methods : All subjects underwent endoscopy and pH test and carditis was diagnosed on biopsies taken across the squamocolumnar junction. Helicobacter pylori was assessed by histology and rapid urease test. GERD was diagnosed by endoscopic oesophagitis or abnormal pH test.

Results : Carditis was detected in 53 of 71 GERD patients and in 15 of 20 controls. Among patients, 18 showed absent, 39 mild and 14 marked cardia inflammation and their H. pylori infection rates were 17, 23 and 57%, respectively (P < 0.025). Most patients with carditis (68%) lacked H. pylori infection. pH-metry was abnormal in 15 of 18 patients with normal cardia, 33 of 39 with mild carditis and 12 of 14 with marked inflammation.

Conclusions : Carditis is a frequent finding in GERD and controls. Mild, non-active carditis is frequent in GERD patients. Marked inflammation is associated with both H. pylori and abnormal pH testing. Thus, both GERD and H. pylori infection may play a role in inducing carditis.