Barrett's Esophagus

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

People with frequent heartburn symptoms could be suffering from Barretts esophagitis. This condition is an irritation in the lining of the esophagus caused by chronic reflux. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Barretts esophagitis is an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus. It is a serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

In Barretts esophagus, normal tissue lining the esophagus changes to tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine. About 10 percent of people with chronic symptoms of GERD develop Barretts esophagus.

The only way to confirm the diagnosis of Barretts esophagus is with a test called an upper endoscopy, which looks for changes in the lining of the esophagus, and biopsy.

The treatment of Barretts esophagus is similar to the treatment of reflux but requires more intensive reduction of acid reflux. This includes:

avoiding certain foods

no eating late in the evening

smoking cessation, and

using high-dose medications that decrease acid production by the stomach or surgery to control acid reflux.

The primary goal of treatment is to prevent or slow the development of Barretts esophagus by treating and controlling acid reflux. This is done with lifestyle changes and medication.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.