Treating Barrett esophagus with radiofrequency ablation

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BARRETT ESOPHAGUS is a complication of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Estimates of the prevalence of Barrett esophagus range widely from 0.4% to more than 20% of the general adult population, depending on the definitions used and the populations examined; experts aren't certain how common Barrett esophagus is worldwide.1,2 In the United States, applying general prevalence estimates would result in approximately 3.3 million individuals with Barrett esophagus.3
About 10% of patients with chronic reflux have Barrett esophagus.4,5 Why some patients with GERD develop Barrett esophagus while others don't is unclear.6
Barrett esophagus is associated with an increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma.7,8 (See Gauging the cancer risk.) The incidence of this once rare cancer has increased by more than 500% since the 1970s. The cancer remains highly lethal, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 15%.9,10
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), a minimally invasive procedure for treating Barrett esophagus, is gaining traction with gastrointestinal (GI) specialists. This article will define Barrett esophagus, discuss RFA and other treatment options, and present nursing care for patients being treated for this disorder.
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