Patient Resource Center

Gastroenterology

​Barrett's Esophagus

What is Barrett’s esophagus?

Barrett’s esophagus is a pre-cancerous condition that affects the lining of the esophagus.

How does Barrett’s esophagus develop?

When stomach acids cause damage to the esophageal lining of the throat, a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you may experience heartburn, regurgitation and chest pain, which may cause damage to esophagus cells. This damage can cause the cells to change over time and become what is called “intestinal metaplasia” or Barrett’s esophagus. People experiencing symptoms of GERD more than three times a week should call their physician.

How is Barrett’s esophagus diagnosed?

Barrett’s esophagus is diagnosed by an upper endoscopic procedure where the physician will biopsy the tissue, and a pathologist will evaluate whether or not the esophagus cells have been altered and if intestinal metaplasia has taken place.

How is Barrett’s esophagus managed?

Your physician will help you manage your Barrett's. Depending on the severity or "grade" of your Barrett's, your physician may want you to undergo endoscopy multiple times a year to monitor your condition.

In addition to surveillance endoscopy approaches for Barrett’s esophagus, there are treatment options that include endoscopic and surgical therapy to eliminate the Barrett’s tissue completely. You should consult your physician for the appropriate treatment for you stage of Barrett’s.

What is ablation treatment?

Ablation is a technique where tissue is either heated or frozen until it is no longer viable or alive. Physicians have used various forms of ablation treat a number of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions, as well as to control bleeding.

What is the treatment option using Barrx® ablation technology?

Barrx ablation technology is a very specific type of ablation, in which thermal (heat) energy is delivered in a precise and highly controlled manner and can achieve complete removal of the diseased tissue without damage to the normal underlying structures.

What happens during treatment with Barrx ablation technology?

Ablation therapy is performed in conjunction with upper endoscopy. The treatment is performed in an outpatient setting and no incisions are involved.

What to expect after treatment?

You may experience some chest discomfort and difficulty swallowing for several days after the procedure, both of which are managed with medications provided by your physician.

Patients are provided with anti-acid medications to help heal the treated esophagus and replace the diseased Barrett’s tissue with a normal, healthy esophagus lining.

Your physician will follow up with you and determine whether additional therapy may be needed.

How is GERD managed after a successful ablation?

Pre-existing GERD and its symptoms is not cured by successful elimination of Barrett’s esophagus tissue. Your physician will work with you on long-term management and therapy of GERD.

Barrx® is a registered trademark of Covidien.

 
 

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