Esophagus tissue

Example of the image seen from the
endoscope. The darker red esophageal
tissue consists of Barrett's cells.

A diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus requires that the patient undergo an upper endoscopy procedure by their physician, typically a gastroenterologist or surgical endoscopist. Endoscopy is a non-surgical procedure and is performed using conscious sedation. Barrett’s esophagus tissue appears as a different color on examination, which directs a biopsy of the tissue for pathology evaluation. A finding of intestinal cells in the esophagus (intestinal metaplasia) confirms a Barrett’s esophagus diagnosis.

Most commonly, Barrett's esophagus is diagnosed during an upper endoscopy procedure, or also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).

The endoscopy procedure consists of a thin, flexible tube that is guided down the throat. The tube, known as an endoscope, has a video lens and light at its tip that transmits images to a video monitor nearby. This allows the doctor to visually inspect and capture images of the tissue of the esophagus.

There are thin endoscopes that allow the physician to pass an endoscope through the patient's nose to quickly and conveniently check the patient for Barrett's esophagus.

There are also small capsules with built-in cameras that the patient may swallow and have a physician screen them for Barrett's esophagus.