What is Barrett’s Esophagus?

Barrett’s Esophagus is a complication of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux. It results when the normal tissue that lines the esophagus changes to tissue resembling the lining of the intestine. There are no specific symptoms associated with Barrett’s Esophagus, although most patients with Barrett’s experience symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Some symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux are heartburn, an acidic or sour taste in mouth (acid reflux), a dry cough, and difficulty swallowing. Patients with Barrett’s Esophagus have an increased, although small, risk of developing cancer of the esophagus (adenocarcinoma.) The gastroenterologists at Blair Gastroenterology Associates specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of Barrett’s Esophagus. If you have been diagnosed with this disorder and would like to speak to one of our staff, be sure to give us a call to set up an appointment.

How Barrett’s Esophagus is Diagnosed

Barrett’s Esophagus is typically diagnosed by a physician performing an endoscopy. An endoscopy involves a patient swallowing a thin, flexible, light tube. A short-acting sedative is given by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) to make the individual comfortable during the procedure. The endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum so that the physician can carefully examine the lining of these organs. The scope can also put air into the stomach; this expands the folds of tissue and makes it easier for the physician to examine the stomach. The air can be removed with the scope or will be naturally expelled. If a patient’s biopsy of the esophagus lining finds intestinal type cells, then Barrett’s Esophagus is diagnosed.

Blair Gastroenterology Specializes in the Treatment of Barrett’s Esophagus

The treatment for Barrett’s Esophagus is prescribing the patient acid reducing medication. The physician might also decide that Radio Frequency Ablation would be an appropriate course of action. Because esophageal tissue is very thin, Radio Frequency Ablation has been shown to be very effective for removal with ablative energy. This procedure has been shown to be safe and effective in treating Barrett’s Esophagus and is performed during an endoscopy, while you are sedated, in our outpatient facility. Patients with Barrett’s Esophagus should avoid alcohol, aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, coffee, acidic foods, fried or fatty foods, and soda. Decreased portion sizes, not eating 3 hours before bed, and quitting smoking can help with symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus and would like to speak to one of our physicians about a second option, treatment options, or to set up an office visit, be sure to give us a call at your earliest convenience.