Barrett’s esophagus affects millions of Americans each year and is one of the leading causes of esophageal cancer. At Penn Gastroenterology, we provide expert, comprehensive treatment for Barrett's esophagus through our Esophageal and Swallowing Disorders Program. 

Barrett’s esophagus is a change in the lining of the esophagus caused by chronic reflux of stomach contents. Digestive acid from the stomach can cause damage and pre-cancerous cells to form in the lining of the esophagus. If left untreated it may lead to esophageal cancer.

Symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus does not typically cause signs or symptoms. Some individuals experience:

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Difficulty swallowing

Risk Factors for Barrett’s Esophagus

If you have any of the following risk factors you could develop Barrett’s esophagus:

  • Chronic symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Obesity
  • Increasing age 50 years of age
  • Male
  • Caucasian
  • Smoking
  • Family history of Barrett's Esophagus

Diagnosis of Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett’s esophagus is diagnosed through a procedure called an upper endoscopy. An upper endoscopy involves the insertion of a tube with a tiny camera and light into your mouth while you are under anesthesia. Your physician can see changes in the way your esophagus looks and will take a small biopsy. The biopsy will confirm a Barrett’s esophagus diagnosis.

Barrett’s Esophagus Treatment

Our gastroenterology team specializes in the treatment of Barrett’s esophagus using the latest technological advancements. Treatment may include:

  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): Radiofrequency energy is delivered via a catheter to the esophagus to remove diseased tissue while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. While you are sedated, a device is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus and used to deliver a controlled level of energy and power to remove a thin layer of diseased tissue.
  • Advanced endoscopic testing and monitoring
  • Medication: Your physician may prescribe certain medications that reduce acid reduction by the stomach called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). 
  • Lifestyle changes including dietary changes, not smoking and weight loss

In This Section

Treatment Team

Penn gastroenterologists provide expert evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for Barrett's esophagus.

Prepare for Your Appointment

Here is what you need to prepare for your appointment with a Penn gastroenterologist.

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