Barret Özofagus

Barret Esophagus

The esophagus is a tubular structure that connects the pharynx and the stomach. “Gastroesophageal reflux disease” (GERD or reflux) occurs when stomach contents escape back into the esophagus as a result of the muscles between the esophagus and the stomach, called sphincters, not working properly. If this disease becomes long-term and chronic, the acid and bile content in the stomach can cause changes in the cells in the esophagus. This condition was first described by Dr. Norman Barrett in 1950 and the term “Barrett’s esophagus” was coined after him.

Over time, Barrett’s esophagus is considered a serious complication of reflux disease as it carries the risk of developing into esophageal cancer. Therefore, the aim is to prevent the progression of the disease.

Although Barrett’s esophagus does not have distinctive features, it is usually diagnosed by examinations performed in individuals who have reflux complaints for a long time. A physician should be consulted when the following symptoms of reflux are noticed:

Bitter water in the mouth
Burning sensation in the chest or throat
Sudden hoarseness and prolonged coughs
Tooth and gum problems, unhealed or prolonged
Prolonged episodes of hiccups
Uncontrolled belching
Pain or difficulty swallowing food

The diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus is usually examined by endoscopy, which is performed on people with reflux complaints. In this procedure, the inner surface of the esophagus is visualized using a flexible endoscope and tissue samples are taken. The samples are examined by pathologists and Barrett’s esophagus is diagnosed.

In the treatment of Barrett’s esophagus, if the risk of cancer is low, treatment of reflux disease and regular endoscopic check-ups are recommended. If there are cancer cells or dysplasia in the esophagus, surgical removal of the affected area is important.

Endoscopic treatments include endoscopic mucosal resection for physical removal of the problem area and ablation with laser, drugs, radiofrequency or electricity. For cancerous or large lesions, open surgery may be preferred.

Surgical operations to correct sphincter dysfunction may also be recommended in appropriate patients.



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