Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Barrett's Epithelium
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Barrett's Epithelium


  I have GERD, a slight hiatal hernia, and my endoscopy revealed
  Barrett's Epithelium.  Is this different than Barrett's esophagus?
  I have also been on 20 mg Prilosec 1x a day for about seven months,
  and my doctor is continuing this indefintely.  I've read that there
  are no studies relating to long-term use of Prilosec.  Is this what
  I should be doing?
_Dear Tim,
Barrett's epithelium is a term used to describe a change in the lining of the lower esophagus. Usually the esophagus is lined by pink, squamous type epithelium (lining) and the stomach is lined by darker, reddish, columnar type epithelium. When the lower esophagus is damaged by acid, its pink lining can be replaced by the darker, reddish lining. If the lining on biopsy appears more like the intestinal lining, it is called intestinal metaplasia. Intestinal metaplasia has been associated with the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma (cancer) of the lower esophagus. For all practical purposes Barrett's esophagus and Barrett's epithelium are synonymous. Omeperazole (Prilosec) has been used in patients with gastroesophageal reflux in Europe for long periods of time (at least 3-5 years) without any patients developing complications.  Although some studies have shown some regression of Barret's epithelium with long-term use of omeperazole (Prilosec) I don't believe that it occurs in most patients and should not be used solely for that purpose. The rationale for using long-term omeperazole (Prilosec) is to prevent further acid damage to the lower esophagus and thereby limit esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) and control symptoms. Good luck to you. I hope you find this information helpful. If you are seen at our institution I look forward to meeting you in person.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
If you would like to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568, our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
HFHSM.D.-ym
*Keywords: Barrett's esophagus, Omeperazole, Prilosec  
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