A Less Invasive Technique Developed to Detect Barrett’s Esophagus

Biomedical engineers at the Duke University, North Carolina have developed a minimally invasive endoscope to detect Barrett’s esophagus in suspected patients. The endoscope makes use of sensors and a light source that can detect the changes in the lining of the esophagus, usually known as Barrett’s esophagus.

The exact causes of Barrett’s esophagus are unknown but it has been observed that people who have gastric problems like GERD often suffer from this condition. What happens is that the normal tissue lining of the esophagus is replaced by a lining similar to that of the intestine.

Not often though, people who suffer from this condition can also develop a rare and fatal ESOPHAGUS CANCER.

This new endoscope can detect the presence of cancer cells in patients suspected of a Barrett’s esophagus. After reaching the esophagus through the nose, the endoscope with the help of the light source scatters light at suspected locations of the esophagus. The sensors then pick the reflected light and check for any areas where the scattering on the tissue lining was unusual.

This way any changes in the cell structure from normal to cancerous can be detected.

One percent of the US population suffer from this condition. This minimally invasive endoscopic technique can save the lives of those who might develop fatal cancer cells because of a gastric reflux into the esophagus.

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