Barrett’s Esophagus results from the change (metaplasia) in the morphology of the cells lining the esophagus. Normally, the esophagus is lined by stratified squamous epithelium. In Barrett’s esophagus, these cells are replaced by columnar epithelium, similar to those lining the intestines. This commonly occurs in people who have untreated GERD for long time.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The patient with Barrett’s esophagus present with signs and symptoms almost similar to those in GERD. These include:

  • Frequent heartburn or dyspepsia

  • Difficulty in swallowing food

  • Chest pain might occur in some cases but is less frequent

  • Blood in vomit or coffee-ground vomit

  • In rare cases, Passage of black tarry stools

What causes Barrett’s Esophagus?

The most important cause of Barrett’s esophagus is GERD which is characterized by the reflux of gastric contents back into the esophagus. GRED causes inflammation in the walls of esophagus and hence causes damage to the lining. However, there are certain cases in which patients with Barrett’s esophagus never experienced heartburn or any other symptoms of GERD. Therefore, the exact causes of Barrett’s esophagus are unknown.

Certain risk factors include:

  • Chronic heartburn and acid reflux

  • Older adults

  • Being a man

  • Being white

  • Being overweight

  • Current or past smoking

  • Alcohol abuse

How do we diagnose it?

Barrett’s esophagus is diagnosed with the help of endoscopy which is done by passing a long flexible tube, called endoscope, down into the esophagus via the mouth and examining the esophagus and the Gastroesophageal junction

What is the treatment?

The treatment options for Barrett’s esophagus depends upon the degree of dysplasia that has occurred in the patient.

  • No dysplasia

  • Periodic endoscopy to monitor the cells in your esophagus

  • Treatment for GERD

  • Low-grade dysplasia

  • Endoscopic resection

  • Radiofrequency ablation

  • High-grade dysplasia

  • Cryotherapy

  • Photodynamic therapy

  • Surgery

Find Out More About Barrett's Esophagus

At NYC Gastroenterology and Nutrition, our expert gastroenterologist, Dr. Oliner,  can help you with diagnosis and treatment of Barret’S Esophagus in the most effective and expert way. If you would like to book an appointment, you can call us at 646-957-2989 or book an appointment online.