Barrett's Esophagus
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Barrett’s esophagus is a condition affecting the lining of the esophagus, the swallowing tube that carries foods and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. Barrett's esophagus is caused by injury to the esophagus from the chronic backwash of stomach contents (like acid and enzymes) that occurs with acid reflux. There are no symptoms specific to Barrett’s esophagus, other than the typical symptoms of acid reflux (or GERD).

In some people, the damage and inflammation associated with acid reflux can cause genetic changes that cause the normal esophagus tissue to change into intestinal tissue (see image to right). When that happens, it is called Barrett’s esophagus (your doctor may refer to it as intestinal metaplasia). It is estimated that 13% of the people who have chronic acid reflux also have Barrett’s esophagus.

What is the treatment option using the HALO ablation technology?

“Ablation” is a technique where tissue is heated until it is no longer viable or alive. Physicians have used various forms of ablation for nearly a century to treat a number of cancerous and precancerous conditions, as well as to control bleeding. The HALO ablation technology is a very specific type of ablation, in which heat energy is delivered in a precise and highly-controlled manner.

Barrett’s esophagus tissue is very thin and is therefore a good candidate for removal with ablative energy. Delivery of ablative energy with the HALO ablation technology is therefore capable of achieving complete removal of the diseased tissue without damage to the normal underlying structures.

Clinical studies have demonstrated the Barrett’s tissue can be completely eliminated with the HALO ablation technology in 98.4% of patients.

What happens during treatment with the HALO ablation technology?

Ablation therapy is performed in conjunction with upper endoscopy. The treatment is performed in an outpatient setting and no incisions are involved. The HALO ablation technology consists of two different devices; the HALO360 and HALO90 ablation catheters. The HALO360 ablation catheter is capable of treating larger areas of circumferential Barrett’s esophagus, while the HALO90 ablation catheter is used to treat smaller areas.

What to expect after treatment?

Patients may experience some chest discomfort and difficulty swallowing for several days after the procedure, both of which are managed with medications provided by the physician. In clinical trials, these symptoms typically resolved within 3-4 days. Patients are provided with anti-acid medications to promote healing of the treated esophagus and replacement of the diseased Barrett’s tissue with a normal, healthy esophagus lining.

A follow-up appointment is scheduled within 2-3 months to assess the response to treatment. If there remains any residual Barrett’s tissue, additional therapy may be recommended.

How is GERD managed after a successful ablation?

Successful elimination of the Barrett’s esophagus tissue does not cure pre-existing GERD or the associated symptoms. The physician will guide the patient regarding long-term GERD therapy.