Consultant gastroenterologist, Rehan Haidry, provides an insight into a minimally invasive device that could help improve cancer detection, while reducing the need for aerosol-generating endoscopies.
Barrett’s oesophagus (BE) is a condition where the cells in the lining of the oesophagus are replaced by cells of the intestines and stomach, this is known as columnar metaplasia.1 For the majority of patients with BE, there is a known history of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GORD). GORD is the recurrent regurgitation of the stomach acids and bile acids from the stomach to the oesophagus. GORD is prevalent, especially in the Western world, affecting approximately 8.5 million people in the United Kingdom (UK).2
GORD develops into BE as a response to irritation caused by the stomach and bile acids. The persistent exposure to acid causes damage and inflammation to the squamous cell lining of the oesophagus. As a result, mucosal goblet cells typically found in the stomach lining to withstand the acidic environment, develop in place of oesophageal squamous cells, this process is called metaplasia.3 Of the many patients with GORD, between 5-15% are found to have BE when identified during endoscopy, the conventional method of diagnosis and monitoring for the condition.3,4
Currently, there is a limited understanding of why BE occurs in some GORD patients, though some risk factors have been identified. The condition predominantly affects males and white ethnicities. Also, the prevalence of BE increases with age and obesity.3
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