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Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's Esophagus
Barrett's Esophagus
  If the valve between the lower esophagus and the stomach weakens, acid from the stomach is allowed to come up into the esophagus causing red erosions, like scrapes of the skin, on the normally pinkish lining of the esophagus. If the erosions continue, a new red lining, which resembles that of the stomach, will develop. This is termed Barrett's Esophagus - named after British surgeon, Norman Barrett, who first identified this ailment in 1950.This is a photo taken in the lower esophagus of a 54 year old man with a history of chronic heartburn for many years for which he took Maalox and Tums daily.

You can see where the pink lining of the lower esophagus has been replaced by "tounges" of red stomach lining. which creeps up into the lower esophagus. About 10% of patients with severe heartburn will go on to develop changes of Barrett's Esophagus.

Barrett's Esophagus is important since these individuals are about 40 times more likely to develop cancer of the esophagus - one of the fastest growing, and most lethal, cancers in the United States.


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