Barrett's Esophagus Diagnosis

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 12/14/2011

Barrett's esophagus many times does not cause any symptoms; so many physicians recommend adults older than 40 who have had GERD undergo an endoscopy and biopsies to check for the condition.

Barrett’s Esophagus Diagnosis

Barrett’s esophagus diagnosis is by using Upper GI endoscopy to view any abnormal tissue formation in the inner lining of esophagus and helps to carryout biopsy.

Upper GI Endoscopy

Upper Gastro Intestinal endoscopy is a procedure that uses a flexible endoscope with a light and camera to see inside of the upper GI tract (esophagus, stomach, and first part of small bowel called the duodenum).

The upper GI tract must keep empty before endoscopy, so no eating, or drinking for four to eight hours before the procedure. Even smoking and chewing gum is not allowing during this procedure.

Patients should inform their doctor about their health conditions if any such as heart disease, lung problems, diabetes, and allergies. Furthermore, need to temperately stop medication for these conditions before GI endoscopy, medication that may interfere with sedatives used in GI endoscopy are; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve)), blood thinners, blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, antidepressants and other dietary supplements.

Patients may give a local, liquid anesthetic that is gargled or sprayed on the throat. This produces numbness in the throat and calms the gag reflex.

During GI endoscopy, the patient needs to lie on their back or side on an examination table. An endoscope is carefully inserting into their mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach and up to the duodenum. A small camera in the endoscope produces a video image in the monitor, helping close examination of the esophageal lining.

The original stratified squamous epithelium esophageal lining is a pale pearly color, while the columnar epithelium (similar to stomach and intestine) is salmon colored. The columnar cells may be of two types they are: gastric (similar to cell in the stomach, which is not Barrett's esophagus) or colonic (similar to cells in the intestines).


Pincher like device is passing through the endoscope to take a biopsy. Biopsy is the removal of several small pieces of tissues for examination. Biopsy is doing on the columnar epithelium that is salmon colored different from that of actual esophageal lining of pale pearly colored.

Micrograph of Barrett's esophagus (left of image) and normal stratified squamous epithelium (right of image).

Biopsy specimens must be examined by a microscope to find whether the cells are gastric (stomach cells) or colonic (intestinal cells) in nature. Colonic nature is normally identifying by the presence of goblet cells in the epithelium, and it is necessary for the effective diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus. The photochemical stain Alcona blue pH 2.5 is also preferably useful to distinguish between true intestinal type mains and their histological mimics.