The IWGCO (International Working Group for the Classification of Oesophagitis) brings together expertise from around the world. Members of the group are engaged in researching and testing criteria that are designed to meet the needs of routine patient care and research that are suitable for adoption as worldwide standards.
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a very common problem worldwide and patients are frequently evaluated by endoscopic visualization of the surface lining of the esophagus.
In the past, criteria for the diagnosis and grading of the severity of esophageal mucosal consequences of reflux disease have been devised ad hoc, with insufficient consultation and critical evaluation. The result has been a confusion of inadequately defined criteria which impair the quality of communication about endoscopic findings in both routine patient care and research studies.
Los Angeles Classification
The Los Angeles Classification of reflux esophagitis, first published in 1996, which has become an internationally-recognised diagnostic standard for clinical and research practice.
Prague C & M Criteria
The Prague C&M criteria for the accurate description of Barrett’s esophagus, published in 2006; these have been widely adopted and are recommended by national and international practice guidelines for use in clinical and research practice.
The BORN (Barrett’s Oesophagus-Related Neoplasia) Program, published in 2019, an on-line educational program to improve the endoscopic diagnosis of neoplastic lesions in patients with Barrett’s esophagus.
Consultation, Education & Research Activities
Extensive consultation, education and research are core IWGCO activities, which are pursued through:
- A wide international representation in the group
- Interactive educational activities around the world
- Peer-reviewed publications on original research of the group
- Development and dissemination of educational resources
- Ongoing research projects
The principles and methodology adopted by the IWGCO to standardize the endoscopic diagnosis of esophageal diseases are applicable in other areas of gastroenterology and, indeed, in clinical medicine, generally; the IWGCO has, therefore, applied these approaches in other areas related, for example, to esophageal histology in reflux disease and will continue to do so in the other complex areas related to the diagnosis and management of specific conditions, such as refractory GERD and colon polyps.