Joint recommendations from medical societies suggest that a patient with Barrett's esophagus should undergo an upper endoscopy procedure with biopsies on a regular basis for the remainder of their lifetime. The frequency of endoscopy is determined by the grade of Barrett’s esophagus.
A patient with IM without dysplasia will undergo surveillance endoscopy approximately every 3 years. The frequency for a patient with low-grade dysplasia is much higher (every 6-12 months) due to the increased risk for cancer development. A patient with IM with high-grade dysplasia may undergo surveillance endoscopy every 3 months, or be referred for more definitive therapy immediately.
Because Barrrett's esophagus is a disease without symptoms of its own, a patient won't know if the disease has progressed to a more serious stage or cancer until he or she undergoes a upper endoscopy and biopsies.
OTHER TREATMENT OPTIONS
In addition to surveillance endoscopy approaches for Barrett’s esophagus, there are other treatment options to eliminate the Barrett’s tissue completely.
Some patients with high-grade dysplasia may have an endoscopic procedure to remove the diseased tissue, but the majority of those diagnosed with high-grade dysplasia are recommended to undergo an esophagectomy to avoid progression to esophageal cancer.
Patients should consult with their physician to determine what the optimal approach is for their particular disease state.