Gastritis: Terminology, etiology, and clinicopathological correlations: Another biased view
The histological approach to gastritis, especially the chronic forms, has undergone a series of re-evaluations by different experts over the past decade, mainly because of the recognition of individual disease patterns that have specific clinical and epidemiological implications. The most spectacular of these was the discovery of Helicobacter pylori and its common gastritis, its relation to almost all duodenal peptic ulcers and to most gastric peptic ulcers, its potential as a precursor of first multifocal atrophic gastritis and later tubule-forming gastric carcinomas, and its status as a cause of gastric mucosal lymphomas. During this same decade other classes of gastric reaction and inflammations have been recognized, including chemical injury and lymphocytic gastritis. Also in the same decade the importance of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has emerged as a cause of gastric mucosal injuries. To add emphasis to all these discoveries, biopsies are being performed on stomachs in almost epidemic numbers and each biopsy specimen has the potential of having the features of one or more of these injuries as well as injuries that have yet to be described. To cope with this rapidly expanding gastric inflammatory informational extravaganza, pathologists need some way of dealing with the various entities comfortably and some method of cataloging them in ways that are understandable both to them and to the endoscopists with whom they work. However, if emerging data about the chronic gastritides are correct, it is conceivable that the need to diagnose them, from a strictly clinical standpoint, is limited. Either we may know what is in the biopsy specimen before we see it or what we see may not be important, although it may be intellectually challenging.