I have a long history of heartburn and my physician told me I could have Barrett’s Esophagus. What is this?

This is a condition in which the inner lining of the esophagus is replaced by tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestine, a process called intestinal metaplasia. Barrett’s Esophagus affects about 1 percent of adults in the United States and is diagnosed by EGD (upper endoscopy) with biopsy. The condition is found about three to five times more often in people who also have acid reflux disease. Therefore, we recommend treating acid reflux symptoms with acid-reducing drugs. People with Barrett’s Esophagus are at risk for developing esophageal cancer and therefore, patients should undergo repeat EGD at regular intervals.