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Multiple specimens taken at oesophageal suction biopsy were obtained from 56 patients, of whom 44 had symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux and 24 had endoscopic evidence of erosive oesophagitis. Biopsies were examined independently by two histopathologists for the following criteria for reflux: epithelial hyperplasia, vascular dilatation and congestion, neutrophil infiltration, and eosinophil infiltration. The incidence of these criteria in patients with and without endoscopic evidence of oesophagitis or symptoms of reflux was investigated. It was concluded that vascular dilatation and epithelial hyperplasia, defined as basal zone thickness greater than or equal to 15% and papillary elongation greater than or equal to 66%, can be detected most reliably, but their diagnostic accuracy is limited unless multiple biopsies are examined.