What is Barretts Esophagus?

Barretts Esophagus is a change in the lining of the esophagus or food pipe thought to be caused from chronic acid refluxing into the esophagus from the stomach (GERD or acid reflux).  The change in cellular structure is also known as Intestinal Metaplasia of the esophagus and results from chronic injury caused from backwash of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. It is considered a pre-cancerous condition due to the fact that it renders patients up to 125 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than the general population.  The standard of care for treatment of this condition has been the use of a class of medications known as Proton Pump Inhibitors to curtail the offending agent, namely, acid reflux.  Surveillance of the esophagus is performed at regular intervals via endoscopy to optimize chances of detecting cancer prior to its spread.  Newer treatments for advanced cases of Barretts Esophagus include Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA Barrx). RFA Barrx is offered to select patient populations with Barretts Esophagus at our gastroenterology practice particularly those patients who are at highest risk of developing cancer.  If you have Barretts Esophagus or chronic acid reflux, please speak with your doctor or gastroenterologist regarding treatment options to minimize risk of progression to more advanced disease.

 

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