What is the pathophysiology of reflux esophagitis?

Updated: May 28, 2020
  • Author: Deepika Devuni, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Reflux esophagitis develops when gastric contents are regurgitated into the esophagus. Reflux happens commonly; in most cases, it does not cause major harm, because natural peristalsis of the esophagus clears the refluxate back into the stomach. In other cases, where acid reflux from the stomach is persistent, the result is damage to the esophagus, causing symptoms and macroscopic changes. Gastric acid, pepsin, and bile irritate the squamous epithelium, leading to inflammation, erosion, and ulceration of the esophageal mucosa.

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