Reflux testing and treatment
Ron chose radiofrequency ablation (RFA) to treat his Barrett’s esophagus. Read more about his experiences with diagnosis and treatment.
I felt there had to be more I could do than sit and wait for Barrett’s to turn into esophageal cancer.— Ron
As a seasoned war correspondent who had reported from places like Asia, Latin America, and Vietnam, Ron was used to dodging bullets in his professional life. But he was far less comfortable when it came to dodging bullets with his health.
In his 50s, Ron was diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which the damaged lining of the esophagus becomes precancerous.1 Since Barrett’s is the primary risk factor for esophageal cancer, Ron’s doctor advised him to watch his diet, take proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) every day, and come back in two years. So that’s what Ron did. Two years later, he was told his endoscopy revealed no dysplasia (abnormal cell growth). He was told the same thing after his third endoscopy, another two years after that.
Ron continued taking his PPIs and watching his diet, but something was nagging at him. He was used to facing challenges head-on — this approach to dealing with Barrett’s felt too passive. “It went against my nature,” he said. “During my years of covering war and mayhem, I learned that you cannot be passive and survive. Why, then, was I acting that way now about my health? I felt there had to be more I could do than sit and wait for Barrett’s to turn into esophageal cancer.”
One week later, Ron met with a new local gastroenterologist who specialized in performing radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedures to treat Barrett’s. Ron had yet another endoscopy, and this time the results were strikingly different. The endoscopy revealed that Ron had long segment dysplasia, which covered 13 centimeters of his esophagus. Ron's gastroenterologist diagnosed him with high-grade dysplasia.
“What a wake-up call that was,” Ron said.
Ron’s physician scheduled him for his first RFA procedure in mid-August. The procedure went well, and after a week of eating non-solid foods and recovering with minimal discomfort, Ron was back to his normal routine. His second procedure took place a couple months later in October, this time with even less recovery time. The prognosis was good.
The experience has taught Ron — who thought he had learned everything there was to know about facing challenges from his war correspondent years — a few lessons about taking ownership of your own body and your own health.
The testimonial above relates an account of an individual’s experience with a Medtronic device. The account is genuine, typical and documented. However, this individual’s experience does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the response or experience other people may have using the device. The experience other individuals have with the device could be different. Experiences can and do vary. Please talk to your doctor about your condition and the risks and benefits of Medtronic devices.
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Hayeck TJ et al. The prevalence of Barrett's esophagus in the US: estimates from a simulation model confirmed by SEER data. Dis Esophagus. 2010;23(6):451–7.