What is Barrett’s Esophagus?

Barrett’s Esophagus, also called BE, is a complication of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) that causes the lining of the esophagus to become more like intestinal tissue. Symptoms are different in every patient who has Barrett’s, but they can appear as heartburn, the sensation of indigestion, regurgitation, or other experiences related to GERD. However, some people don’t see any symptoms, or they are infrequent.

Diagnosing Barrett’s Esophagus

To diagnose Barrett’s Esophagus, you must see a gastroenterologist for a diagnostic endoscopy of the esophagus. If the doctor sees red, “fuzzy” looking tissue, you will likely require a biopsy to test for Barrett’s Esophagus as normal esophageal tissue appears more pale and smooth.

One of our providers will determine how far the tissue has changed, because if the tissue is very different, you may be more at risk for esophageal cancer. Generally, this is ranked by the level of dysplasia, also known as inflammation or abnormal cell growth. In Barrett’s Esophagus, it is ranked as follows:

  • No dysplasia: Barrett’s Esophagus is present, but no cancerous cell growth
  • Low-grade dysplasia: Cells show precancerous development
  • High-grade dysplasia: Cells likely will become cancerous

Treating Barrett’s Esophagus

We use Gastroesophageal Radiofrequency Ablation with the Medtronic Barrx™ system to remove the epithelium in a brief endoscopic procedure. Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure, in which either a flexible balloon catheter or small focal catheter is inserted into the esophagus, and radiofrequency is applied to the cells, destroying abnormalities. Since the procedure doesn’t involve any incisions, chance of complication is low.

Barrx Treatment for GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus

If you’ve been diagnosed with GERD or Barrett’s Esophagus, come see Dan Lister, MD, FACS at the Arkansas Heartburn Treatment Center to learn more and discuss your options for treatment. To schedule your appointment with Dr. Lister, please call (855) GO-4-LINX today!

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