At the Capital Health Center for Digestive Health, our physicians use the BARRX HALO System, which was recently featured in the New England Journal of Medicine as a highly effective treatment for complete eradication of Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition that affects one to two million adults in the United States each year. It is estimated that approximately 0.5 percent of patients (1 in 200) with Barrett's esophagus will develop esophageal cancer each year. Research has demonstrated, however, that Barrett’s esophagus progresses along a pathway through several stages before turning into cancer:
Barrett’s » Low Grade Dysplasia » High Grade Dysplasia » Esophageal Cancer
At present time, treatment is recommended for patients with dysplasia (a more aggressive form of Barrett’s, which has a higher likelihood of progressing to cancer), however patients with non-dysplastic Barrett’s can be considered on a case-by-case basis, and studies are currently underway to determine if every patient with Barrett’s esophagus should undergo ablative treatment.
The HALO System technology is a very specific type of ablation, in which heat energy is delivered in a precise and highly-controlled manner. Barrett’s esophagus tissue is very thin and is therefore a good candidate for removal with ablative energy. Delivery of ablative energy with the HALO radiofrequency ablation technology is therefore capable of achieving complete removal of the diseased tissue without damage to the normal underlying structures.
Clinical studies have demonstrated the Barrett’s tissue can be completely eliminated with the HALO ablation technology in up to 98.4 percent of patients.
Ablation therapy is performed in conjunction with upper endoscopy and sometimes endoscopic ultrasound. If nodules are found within the Barretts esophagus, then endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) should be performed prior to performing BARRX. The treatment is performed in an outpatient setting and no incisions are involved. The HALO ablation technology consists of two different devices; the HALO360 (balloon) and HALO90 (paddle) ablation catheters. The HALO360 ablation catheter is capable of treating larger areas of circumferential Barrett’s esophagus, while the HALO90 ablation catheter is used to treat smaller areas.
Patients may experience some chest discomfort and difficulty swallowing for several days after the procedure, both of which are managed with medications provided by the physician. In clinical trials, these symptoms typically resolved within three to four days. Patients are provided with anti-acid medications to promote healing of the treated esophagus and replacement of the diseased Barrett’s tissue with a normal, healthy esophagus lining.
A follow-up appointment is scheduled within two to three months to assess the response to treatment. If there remains any residual Barrett’s tissue, additional therapy may be recommended.
Successful elimination of the Barrett’s esophagus tissue does not cure pre-existing GERD or the associated symptoms. Your physician will guide you regarding long-term GERD therapy.
The information provided on these educational pages is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. And, if experiencing a medical emergency call 9-1-1.