New Study Indicates RFA Even More Beneficial for Barrett's

  • Barrett's Esophagus is a disease where the esophageal tissue is replaced by tissue resembling the intestinal lining.  These changes are thought to be caused, in part, by acid reflux disease, or GERD.  Patients with Barrett's Esophagus have to be frequently monitored for signs of dysplasia, or precancerous changes.

    If a patient Barrett's progresses, radiofrequency ablation may be used.  Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a procedure during which high frequency electrical energy heats and destroys those abnormal cells.  It has been frequently used in patients who have Barrett's and high level dysplasia or early cancer.

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    In a new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, has shown that treating Barrett's Esophagus with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) reduces the risk of the disease progression even in patients with lower level dysplasia (1).   In the study RFA was preformed on patients with Barrett's and low grade dysplasia.  The RFA not only reduced the progression to high grade dysplasia but also reduced the progression to esophageal cancer.

    The new study indicates that RFA may need to be considered for patients who have lower levels of dysplasia.  RFA was previously used mainly in patients with high level dysplasia or early cancer.  This study showed a 25% reduction in progression to high level dysplasia or cancer in Barrett's patients who have lower level dysplasia and underwent this procedure.

    If you have previously been diagnosed with Barrett's and low level dysplasia but were told that you were not a candidate for RFA, it may be time to talk with your doctor.

Published On: April 02, 2014