Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition commonly caused by chronic acid reflux disease or GERD. More than 3 million American adults are estimated to have Barrett’s esophagus, and while the risk is low, left untreated Barrett’s esophagus can lead to esophageal adenocarcinoma,the most rapidly rising cancer in the U.S.
With the use of the BARRX HALO systems, Albany Med treats the condition with ablation therapy,the use of high radiofrequency energy to remove the diseased layer of cells, and potentially eliminate the condition before it has the opportunity to progress to cancer. Albany Med was the first in the region to offer this treatment to patients.
Using the BARRX HALO system, the ablation procedure is performed without incisions using conscious sedation in an outpatient setting. Using an endoscopic procedure, the physician directs the HALO system’s specialized catheter down the throat to the diseased area of the esophagus. During the half-hour long procedure, the HALO energy generator is activated to deliver short, consistent bursts of ablative energy to safely remove the very thin layer of the diseased esophagus. The patient typically undergoes three to four such procedures over a period of several months to ensure the eradication of the precancerous tissue.
For a number of years, the standard of care for patients with Barrett’s espophagus was monitoring via frequent endoscopies to ensure that that the disease had not progressed to cancer, said Seth Richter, MD, assistant professor of medicine. Today, we are able to safely remove the precancerous cells at earlier stages and allow for healthy cell regeneration.