Cryoablation in the management of Barrett's esophagus

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Providing an overview on types of cryotherapy for esophageal application and their role in the management of Barrett's esophagus.

Recent findings

Recent studies have involved multiple types of cryotherapy including cryospray techniques that use either liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide as the cryogenic fluid, and the CryoBalloon focal ablation device that uses nitrous oxide. Overall, studies report cryotherapy to be safe and effective in eradicating Barrett's epithelium. However, substantial variations among these studies in design and outcomes preclude direct comparisons of the results. Moreover, little is known of the long-term outcomes of cryotherapy, with only one report describing 5-year follow-up of patients treated with liquid nitrogen cryospray.

Summary

The concept of cryotherapy is appealing. By preserving the extracellular matrix and inducing anesthetic effects, cryotherapy has the potential to enable deeper ablations with less pain and a lower rate of stricture formation than radiofrequency ablation. To date, however, these potential benefits remain unproved. Prospective studies with clearly defined endpoints and longer follow-up are necessary to determine the role of cryotherapy in the management of patients with Barrett's esophagus.

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