Iredell News

Section: Iredell News

Iredell Health System to Begin Minimally Invasive Procedure For Esophageal Cancer, the Fastest Growing Cancer in the US


Iredell Health System will soon be offering the most advanced, non-surgical treatment to cure Barrett’s esophagus disease, a precursor to early stage cancer of the esophagus. Esophageal Cancer is presently one of the fastest growing forms of cancer in the U.S.

Barrett’s disease occurs when the esophagus is chronically exposed to gastric contents of the stomach caused by gastro esophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD. The prolonged acid exposure causes normal cells in the esophagus to undergo genetic change that are then vulnerable to further changes that can lead to cancer. Barrett’s esophagus effects one to two million adults in the U.S. each year and they have a 40 to 130 times higher incidence of developing esophageal cancer than those without the condition.

“Barrett’s has traditionally been managed with frequent endoscopic biopsy surveillance to ensure that the disease doesn’t progress to cancer,” said Dr. Vivek

Trivedi, gastroenterologist with Piedmont Healthcare. “Using the BARRX System we are able to take a proactive approach in treatment of Barrett’s disease.”

The BARRX RFA System by Medtronic GI Solutions is an endoscope-mounted ablation system.

“This ablation system is the first to treat in a uniformed and controlled manner,” explained Dr. Joseph Petrozza, gastroenterologist with Piedmont Healthcare. “We are able to perform the procedure without injuring healthy underlying tissue.”

The system has two components: an ablative energy generator and an ablation catheter featuring a small electrode that can either be mounted on the end of an endoscope or go through the working channel of the scope to reach the esophageal anatomy. The physician directs the ablation catheter to the diseased area of the sedated patient’s esophagus. The BARRX energy generator is then activated to deliver a rapid burst of ablative energy or controlled heat, which removes less than a millimeter layer of the diseased esophagus. This out-patient procedure destroys pre-cancerous tissue in the lining of the esophagus and new, healthy tissue will grow within three to four weeks.

Categories: New Technology