Barrett's Esophagus : Patient Resources

Symptoms

Most people with Barrett's itself does not produce symptoms. Most people seek medical treatment because of other symptoms, such as:
  • GERD
  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Difficulty swallowing

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Barrett's esophagus diagnosed? The only way to diagnose Barrett's esophagus is to have endoscopic surgery, at which time biopsy will be taken to confirm pathologic diagnosis. Once diagnosed, do I need further endoscopies? When you are diagnosed with Barrett's it is important that you are monitored with repeat endoscopies on a regular basis as recommended by your doctor. Why are repeat endoscopies necessary? Repeat endoscopies are necessary to obtain biopsies to check for the presence of dysplastic changes. What are dysplastic changes? Dysplastic changes, or dysplasia, are abnormal, precancerous cells that put a Barrett's patient at a higher risk for cancer. If I have Barrett's, will I get cancer? No, only a small percentage of Barrett's esophagus cases progress to cancer. If I have Barrett's with dysplasia what are my options? If the dysplasia is classified as high grade, your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments:
  • Esophagectomy-surgical removal of the esophagus
  • Photodynamic therapy laser ablation using photosensitizers
  • Halo-laser ablation using heat
  • Cryoablation- ablation using liquid nitrogen