Barrett’s Endotherapy is a new treatment option for Barrett’s Esophagus, a condition that can often result from chronic heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly referred to as GERD. It is performed by a physician in conjunction with an upper endoscopy; it does not require any incisions or surgery. Barrett’s Endotherapy can minimize one’s risk of developing esophageal cancer if suffering from Barrett’s Esophagus as a result of GERD.
The upper endoscope is a remarkable piece of equipment that can be directed and moved around the bends in the esophagus and stomach. The endoscope is used to view the tissue of the esophageal lining. A sizing balloon is used to measure your esophagus, and then the proper Barrett’s Endotherapy ablation device will be used for the actual procedure of ablating the abnormal tissue.
Reasons for the Exam
Barrett’s esophagus is the name given to describe abnormal tissue in the esophagus which can occur as a result of gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD). These abnormal cells can become cancerous. This procedure of ablating or removing cells can prevent the tissue from developing into a cancer. The abnormal cells are destroyed and new healthy cells can replace them.
Preparation for the Test
To obtain the full benefit of the exam and allow a thorough inspection the stomach should be completely empty. This means that you cannot have anything to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure. Specific instructions for preparation are provided beforehand.
Upper Endoscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. It is performed with the patient lying on the left side. A bite block is usually placed in the patient’s mouth to keep the mouth open. The patient is sedated with MAC. For the procedure you will swallow a thin, flexible, lighted tub called an endoscope. The endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the esophagus. The physician will view the esophagus with the endoscope and measure the area that requires treatment. The physician will then insert a Barrett’s Endotherapy ablation catheter into the esophagus to deliver energy to only the abnormal tissue.
This procedure can minimize or prevent abnormal cells from developing into a cancerous condition of the esophagus.
Frequent biopsies of the esophagus can be done to look for cellular changes but this will not treat the condition.
Side Effects and Risks
Patients may experience some chest discomfort or difficulty swallowing which should resolve within a few days. Your Physician will provide you with medications for these symptoms. Bleeding, infection, and reaction to anesthesia may occur but are uncommon. Perforation requiring surgery is rare. Due to sedation, the patient should not drive or operate machinery for the remainder of the day following the exam.
Barrett’s Endotherapy can minimize your risk of developing esophageal cancer if you suffer from Barrett’s Esophagus as a result of GERD. It is extremely important that you continue with your treatment for GERD on a long term basis as advised by your physician to prevent further damage to the lining of the esophagus.