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Barrett's Disease Treatment

A new treatment that helps prevent esophageal cancer

Older man talking with physician

HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland offers an outpatient treatment that destroys pre-cancerous tissue in the lining of the esophagus. What's more, St. Joseph's is the only hospital in the metro east Illinois region to offer the procedure! Endoscopic radio frequency ablation therapy uses the 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 three million adults in the United States each year. The procedure is performed by Peter Kim, M.D., a physician specializing in gastroenterology and internal medicine who has had training in ablation therapy.

About Barrett's Disease

Barrett's disease occurs when the esophagus is chronically exposed to gastric contents of the stomach caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD. With prolonged acid exposure, normal cells in the esophagus can undergo a genetic change, which makes them vulnerable to further changes that can lead to cancer.

Individuals with Barrett's esophagus have a higher incidence of developing cancer - as much as 40 to 130 times higher - as those without the condition. Esophageal cancer is currently the fastest growing form of cancer in the United States. Just as a person with a polyp has a higher likelihood of developing colon cancer, so too a person with Barrett's disease is at higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. However, unlike a colon polyp which is removed immediately upon diagnosis during a colonoscopy, the standard treatment for Barrett's disease has been "watchful waiting" or surveillance to monitor the progression of the disease... until the availability of the HALO System.

Esophageal cancer is often non-curable because the disease is frequently discovered in advanced stages.

About the procedure

The HALO System provides uniform, controlled ablative therapy, which not only removes abnormal cells but also allows for regrowth of normal cells. The HALO System also enables effective treatment without injuring healthy underlying tissue.

The primary purpose is to ablate - or remove - the abnormal lining of the esophagus. The tissue then regenerates and normal tissue grows back. This eliminates or markedly reduces the chances for cancer to develop. Data from studies indicate that the treatment is highly effective.

During the procedure, an ablation catheter (HALO360 or HALO90 Ablation Catheter) is positioned on the abnormal esophageal tissue. Using the HALO Energy Generator, the physician delivers a rapid burst of ablative energy which removes a very thin layer of the diseased esophagus. Performed in an outpatient setting, the procedure takes less than 30 minutes on average and requires no incisions.