Lifewatch: Barrett's Esophagus

Reported by Claire Hosmann - email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Doctors at the University of Texas Southwestern are easing the pain for patients who have chronic stomach acid with a new treatment.

Barrett's Esophagus is the abnormal growth of intestinal-type cells into the esophagus.  Patients with Barrett's usually experience heartburn and stomach acid reflux.

Cathy Kautzer is one of the millions of Americans who suffers with acid reflux or "gerd."

"I ended up a couple of times in the emergency room thinking it was a heart attack," said Kautzer.

Kautzer was diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus, a condition caused from ongoing heartburn.

"I never realized that if your digestive system isn't functioning, it makes you feel bad all over," said Kautzer.

Dr. Jayaprakash Sree, a GI Specialist at UT Southwestern performed a new method to relieve the symptoms.

"What we offer is a minimally invasive tool, an endoscope going through the mouth and down the esophagus," said Sree.  "We actually use liquid nitrogen to spray on the affected areas, which can actually kill those bad cells."

With this new procedure, recovery time is much quicker.

"We did the procedure on Monday and I went to work on Wednesday, so there wasn't a lot of down time at all," said Kautzer.

You may eliminate or reduce the frequency of stomach acids flowing up into the lower end of your esophagus by making simple lifestyle changes like:

  • control your weight
  • don't lie down after eating
  • raise the head of your bed