Barrett’s Esophagitis
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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

Barrett’s esophagitis is an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus.  It is caused by chronic reflux of stomach contents back into the esophagus.

Symptoms include heartburn and generally decrease with medications that reduce acid in the stomach.

The only way to confirm the diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagitis is with a test called an upper endoscopy, which looks for changes in the lining of the esophagus.

The treatment of Barrett’s 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.

New technology allows the Barrett’s esophagus to be removed by ablation.

Barrett’s esophagus is a pre-malignant condition that may lead to the development of cancer of the esophagus.

Patients with Barrett’s esophagus should have regular screening exams to detect cancer at an early and

potentially curable stage.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.