Background: The previously reported prevalence of gastric heterotopia in the cervical esophagus, also termed inlet patch (IP), varies substantially, ranging from 0.18 to 14%. Regarding cases with adenocarcinoma within IP, some experts recommend to routinely obtain biopsies from IP for histopathology. Another concern is the reported relation to Barrett's esophagus. The objectives of the study were to prospectively determine the prevalence of IP and of preneoplasia within IP, and to investigate the association between IP and Barrett's esophagus. Methods: 372 consecutive patients undergoing esophagogastroduodenoscopy were carefully searched for the presence of IP. Biopsies for histopathology were targeted to the IP, columnar metaplasia of the lower esophagus, gastric corpus and antrum. Different definitions of Barrett's esophagus were tested for an association with IP. Results: At least one IP was endoscopically identified in 53 patients (14.5%). Histopathology, performed in 46 patients, confirmed columnar epithelium in 87% of cases, which essentially presented corpus and/or cardia-type mucosa. Intestinal metaplasia was detected in two cases, but no neoplasia. A previously reported association of IP with Barrett's esophagus was weak, statistically significant only when short segments of cardia-type mucosa of the lower esophagus were included in the definition of Barrett's esophagus. Conclusions: The prevalence of IP seems to be underestimated, but preneoplasia within IP is rare, which does not support the recommendation to regularly obtain biopsies for histopathology. Biopsies should be targeted to any irregularities within the heterotopic mucosa. The correlation of IP with Barrett's esophagus hints to a partly common pathogenesis.