The treatment of Barrett's esophagus is still controversial. Actually, the only method to prevent the development to cancer is endoscopic surveillance, which ensures good results in terms of long-term survival. An ideal treatment capable of destroying columnar metaplasia, followed by squamous epithelium regeneration could potentially result in a decrease of the incidence of adenocarcinoma. Recently most ablative techniques were used, such as photodynamic therapy, ablation therapy with Nd-YAG laser or argon plasma coagulation and endoscopic mucosal resection. We started a prospective study in January 1998, enrolling 94 patients affected by Barrett's esophagus and candidates for antireflux repair in order to assess the effectiveness and the results of endoscopic coagulation with argon plasma combined with surgery in the treatment of uncomplicated Barrett's esophagus. All patients underwent endoscopic treatment with argon plasma; we observed complete response in 68 patients (72.34%), 27 of them (39.7%) underwent antireflux surgery and the other 41 continued medical therapy. Post-operatively 19 patients (70%) underwent regular surveillance endoscopies and in two cases metaplasia recurred. The final objective of these combined treatments should be the complete eradication of metaplastic mucosa. Our experience was that argon plasma coagulation combined with antireflux surgery or proton pump inhibitor therapy gave satisfactory results, even if follow-up is too short to evaluate the potential evolution of metaplasia to cancer. For this reason, we recommend that this technique should be done only in specialized centres and that these patients continue their endoscopic surveillance program.
- Barrett's esophagus
- Endoscopic argon plasma coagulation
- Laparoscopic fundoplication
ASJC Scopus subject areas