HALO Ablation Catheter Treatment at St. Joseph's/Candler
Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, may not only have to deal with the condition's symptoms of heartburn and chest pain, but also its potential to create what is known as Barrett's esophagus. This non-symptomatic condition, which affects about three million Americans, occurs when the lining of the esophagus changes due to the damage done by GERD.
The normal esophageal lining has a distinct appearance and color. The development of Barrett's esophagus is usually really easy to see when you do an endoscopy.
In an endoscopy, the patient is sedated and an endoscope, or camera, is passed through the mouth into the esophagus. The physician can then take a number of biopsies to determine the level of the condition. The three levels of Barrett's esophagus are intestinal metaplasia, or IM without dysplasia, IM with low-grade dysplasia and IM with high-grade dysplasia. Dysplasia is an abnormality within the tissue. It is not cancer but it may raise the patient's risk of developing cancer.
In the past, if someone with Barrett's esophagus developed high-grade dysplasia, we would send them to get their esophagus removed.
HALO Ablation Catheter for Barrett's Esophagus to Prevent Esophageal Cancer
Now a process is offered to treat the condition of Barrett's esophagus before it can develop into something more severe. Surprisingly, the procedure to get rid of Barrett's esophagus is not that much different from the one used to diagnose it. The LCRP uses a technology called the HALO Ablation Catheter in conjunction with an endoscopy. There are two versions of these catheters; one is used based on the size and circumference of the segment of Barrett's esophagus. Once inside the esophagus, the catheters ablate, or heat, the diseased tissue until it is no longer alive.
The remarkable thing about the HALO catheter is that it burns down far enough to get rid of the Barrett's esophagus, but not too far where you might develop a complication such as a perforation or a stricture afterwards..
Approximately three million Americans have Barrett's esophagus, however most won't get cancer. But patients with this condition are 40-130 times more likely to develop cancer when compared to the general population.
The decision to have the ablation procedure depends on the patient and their thoughts about it after consulting their physician. Other considerations include age and whether or not the patient is suffering from other diseases to make sure he or she is a good candidate for this procedure.
For More Information about the HALO Ablation Catheter
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