The physicians at Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery often treat a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. Many patients have questions about this complex condition. During September we are going to discuss Barrett’s Esophagus as a disease and what treatment options are available. To begin, Barrett’s Esophagus (also known as BE) is condition affecting the lining of the esophagus (the pipe that carries food from the mouth to the stomach). Barrett’s Esophagus is caused by injury to the esophagus from chronic acid reflux. Acid reflux happens when gastric contents move from the stomach into the esophagus. Typically patients that are diagnosed with BE do not have symptoms specific to BE. Some patients may have no symptoms (silent reflux) and others may have symptoms of GERD (heartburn, regurgitation, throat burning). The damage and inflammation associated with acid reflux causes changes to a person’s normal esophageal tissue. Over time, the normal tissue lining of the esophagus is replaced by an abnormal tissue lining (intestinal tissue). This intestinal tissue does not belong in the esophagus. Doctors sometimes call this intestinal metaplasia. It is estimated that 13% of people who have chronic acid reflux also have Barrett’s Esophagus.

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