The exact cause of Barrett's esophagus isn't known. Most people with Barrett's esophagus have long-standing GERD. It's thought that GERD causes stomach contents to wash back into the esophagus, causing damage to the esophagus. As the esophagus tries to heal itself, the cells can change to the type of cells found in Barrett's esophagus.
Still, some people diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus have never experienced heartburn or acid reflux. It's not clear what causes Barrett's esophagus in these cases.
May. 25, 2011
- Spechler SJ, et al. Barrett's esophagus. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed March 25, 2011.
- Updated guidelines 2008 for the diagnosis, surveillance and therapy of Barrett's esophagus. Bethesda, Md.: American College of Gastroenterology. http://www.acg.gi.org/physicians/guidelines/BarrettsEsophagus08.pdf. Accessed March 25, 2011.
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- Spechler SJ, et al. American Gastroenterological Association medical position statement on the management of Barrett's esophagus. Gastroenterology. 2011;140:1084.
- Barrett's esophagus. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/barretts/index.htm. Accessed March 25, 2011.
- Crockett SD, et al. Health-related quality of life in patients with Barrett's esophagus: A systematic review. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2009;7:613.
- Heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux (GER), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/index.htm. Accessed March 28, 2011.
- Greenwald BD, et al. Cryotherapy for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology. In press. Accessed May 23, 2011.