Diagnosis of Barrett’s Oesophagus
Heartburn may occur when the muscles at the lower end of your oesophagus – also known as your gullet or foodpipe – become weak and allow digestive juices from your stomach and small bowel to flow back up. This is called reflux.
This causes the typical burning pain in your chest, hence the name heartburn. The pain may rise and spread to your throat and jaw.
If you find it difficult or painful to swallow, have symptoms of anaemia – that is feeling permanently tired, dizzy or faint – or have unexplained weight loss you should consult your doctor straight away.
Your doctor may refer you to a hospital for further investigation. Barrett’s Oesophagus is diagnosed by an endoscopy and a biopsy.
An endoscopy involves having a very narrow flexible tube passed into your gullet. The tube contains a tiny camera that can relay back images of your gullet and stomach so that the doctor can observe whether the tissue looks normal. You may be sedated and your throat may be anesthetised. You will be able to breathe normally.
The procedure is backed up by a biopsy taken at the same time, where a small sample of the tissue in your gullet is removed and then examined under a microscope.
From the information that is gathered the doctor can diagnose whether you have Barrett’s Oesophagus.