Question of the week regarding Barrett’s esophagus

Question of the week regarding Barrett’s esophagus

Question of The Week

Lori from Houston has a question regarding Barrett’s esophagus:

“I have stage 4 GERD plus Barrett’s and would appreciate any additional info you can provide. I recently turned 60, and my dad and his sister both died of esophageal cancer and stomach cancer”.

Dear Lori,

Acid and bile reflux damage esophageal lining resulting in Barrett’s esophagus. About 10% of patients with GERD develop Barrett’s esophagus and 1% of patients with Barrett’s esophagus develop esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer, the fastest rising cancer in the country, is a serious and potential fatal disease. Barrett’s esophagus and stage 4 GERD are strong indications for hiatal hernia repair and Nissen fundoplication surgery.

Proton pump inhibitors mask your acid reflux related symptoms but don’t stop reflux. At Houston Heartburn and reflux Center, we commonly encounter patients with Barrett’s esophagus despite taking proton pump inhibitors for many years. Nissen fundoplication surgery reliably and effectively stops gastric content reflux into the esophagus. As a result, Nissen fundoplication halts the progression of Barrett’s esophagus into cancer, and in certain cases Barrett’s mucosa regresses back to normal.