Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the tissue cells at the lower end of the esophagus are abnormal. The esophagus is the thin tube that connects the back of the throat to the stomach. In patients with this condition, cells normally found in the intestines replace the cells normally found in the esophagus (a process called intestinal metaplasia).

Barrett's Esophagus: What You Need to Know

Prevention

You can lower your risk of developing Barrett's esophagus by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and making sure you get all of your daily vitamins.

Teamwork

Barrett's esophagus is best managed by a group of specialists that includes gastroenterologists, pathologists and radiologists. Our physicians and other support staff work together as a team, providing expert care.

Technology

Our team uses advanced technology to diagnose and treat Barrett's esophagus. We offer upper endoscopy for diagnostic testing and endoscopic radiofrequency ablation treatment, a minimally invasive procedure that reduces your side effects. Learn more about diagnosis and treatment for Barrett's esophagus.

Experienced, Trusted Expertise

Fletcher Allen's Gastroenterology and Hepatology Outpatient Clinic is managed by six board certified subspecialists, including two with certification in endoscopic ultrasound. We perform more than 9,000 various diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures every year.

What is Barrett's Esophagus?

Barrett's esophagus usually occurs more often in people with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which happens when the contents of the stomach backflow into the esophagus (called regurgitation). Since most patients with Barrett's esophagus have acid reflux disease, they suffer from heartburn and/or acid regurgitation.

Barrett's esophagus is considered a precancerous condition. People with the condition are at an increased risk, although their overall risk remains low, of developing esophageal cancer (called adenocarcinoma).

The exact reason tissue changes occur in Barrett's esophagus is unknown, but several factors can increase your risk of developing it, including:

  • Chronic heartburn and acid reflux: Having GERD symptoms for 10 years or more
  • Gender: The condition is more common in men than women
  • Race: Caucasians are more likely to have Barrett's esophagus
  • Age: The condition can happen at any age, but the average age at diagnosis is 55
  • Smoking: Fletcher Allen offers a quit smoking program
  • Obesity: Excessive belly fat is dangerous

Diagnosis and Treatment: Barrett's Esophagus

The treatment that is right for you will depend upon factors such as your biopsy results, overall health, personal preferences and physician recommendations. If your biopsy shows many changes pointing to esophageal cancer, your doctor may use an innovative procedure such as endoscopic radiofrequency ablation.

Learn more about Barrett's esophagus diagnosis and treatment.

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-8865.