Medical Definition of Barrett esophagus

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Barrett esophagus: A complication of chronic severe gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) that involves a change in the type of cells that line the inner wall of the lower esophagus. There is a small but definite increased risk of cancer of the esophagus (adenocarcinoma) in people with Barrett esophagus. The diagnosis of Barrett esophagus is made on seeing (through endoscopy) a pink esophageal lining (mucosa) that extends a short distance (usually less than 2.5 inches) up the esophagus from the gastroesophageal junction and finding cell changes on biopsy of the lining. Treatment involves acid-suppression drugs and followup monitoring of the esophagus is advised.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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