New Treatment for Barrett's Esophagus
Barrett’s is a condition in which the lining of the lower esophagus is eroded by acid and replaced by lining which more closely resembles stomach tissue. This replacement tissue has been associated with the development of esophageal cancer (about 1 of 200 Barrett’s patients per year) and therefore is considered a pre-malignant condition.
We can better identify patients with Barrett’s by categorizing them into those with and without dysplasia. Dysplasia represents more advanced pre-cancerous changes in the lining. Patients found to have dysplasia have a higher risk of developing cancer. Less than 10 years ago patients with these changes would often be recommended to undergo major surgery to remove their esophagus.
Today, using a precise and targeted application of heat to the Barrett’s tissue, your IGG physician can eliminate Barrett’s dysplasia tissue during an outpatient procedure. This procedure, called Barrx, uses radio frequency ablation (RFA) and involves a standard upper endoscopy during which a special catheter is used to apply the treatment. Studies have shown greater than 90% clearance of the Barrett’s tissue with good durability and safety profile.
Patients at risk for Barrett’s esophagus include those with chronic acid reflux (GERD), older age, male sex, smoking, and being overweight.
Talk to your primary care or IGG physician about whether you should be screened for Barrett’s. If you already have been diagnosed with Barrett’s, talk to your IGG physician to learn if you would be an appropriate candidate for Barrx treatment.