Definition of Barrett esophagus
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.
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012
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