Radio Frequency Ablation for Barrett's Esophagus
Barrett’s esophagus is a pre-cancerous 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 most often diagnosed in people who have long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — a chronic regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the lower esophagus. Left untreated, it can progress to a dangerous type of esophageal cancer.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disorder in which stomach acid and enzymes cause injury to the esophageal lining, producing symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain. In some patients with GERD, the normal esophagus cells are damaged. Over time, this damage can result in inflammation and genetic changes that cause the cells to become altered. The tissue takes on a different appearance and microscopically is no longer esophageal tissue, but rather becomes intestinal tissue. This is called “intestinal metaplasia” or Barrett’s esophagus.
Orange Regional Medical Center now offers HALO Radio Frequency Ablation Therapy: an Endoscopic procedure that is a highly effective treatment for complete eradication of Barrett’s esophagus.
“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 pre-cancerous conditions, as well as to control bleeding. HALO Radio Frequency Ablation Therapy 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 this ablation technology is therefore capable of achieving complete removal of the diseased tissue and allows for the regrowth of normal cells without injuring healthy underlying tissue.
What happens during treatment with the HALO ablation technology?
Ablation therapy is performed in conjunction with an 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.
Initially, a sizing balloon is used to size the esophagus. A correctly sized ablation catheter is then inflated within the affected area. The energy generator is activated to deliver a rapid burst of ablative energy which removes (ablates) a very thin layer of the diseased esophagus. The average procedure time is less than 30 minutes.
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 resolve 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. Your physician will guide you regarding long-term GERD therapy.
View an educational flipbook illustrating Radio Frequency Ablation Therapy
To find a physician that performs Radio Frequency Ablation, please click here and select Radio Frequency Ablation in the "Areas of Interest" pull down box.
View Dr. Edward Croen and Dr. Andrew Pellecchia's Powerpoint presentations on Acid Reflux
For additional information, please contact your physician directly.