Background: Barrett's esophagus has been divided into three categories based on the extent of the metaplasia: long-segment (LSBE), short-segment (SSBE), and ultrashort-segment Barrett's esophagus (USBE). While both LSBE and SSBE are thought to be induced by gastroesophageal reflux, the etiology of USBE is still unclear. Methods: We conducted a case-control study to identify the differences in the pathogenesis between SSBE and USBE in a hospital-based population. The endoscopic findings and clinical factors of 199 patients with short-segment endoscopically suspected esophageal metaplasia (SS-ESEM) and 317 patients with ultrashort-segment ESEM (US-ESEM) were compared with those of 199 and 317 age- and gender-matched patients without ESEM. Results: The severity of gastric mucosal atrophy was marginally associated with the presence of US-ESEM [odds ratio (OR) 1.20, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.98-1.46, p = 0.08], but not with that of SS-ESEM. On the other hand, the presence of gallstones and that of severe reflux esophagitis were associated with the presence of SS-ESEM (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.21-3.98; OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.08-2.75), but not with that of US-ESEM. Presence of gastric corpus atrophy without gallstones was associated with the presence of US-ESEM, but not with that of SS-ESEM. Conclusions: Presence of gastric corpus atrophy was associated with an increased likelihood of the presence of US-ESEM, whereas the presence of gallstones was associated with an increased likelihood of the presence of SS-ESEM, suggesting difference in etiology between US- and SS-ESEM.
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