Barrx Procedure to Treat Barrett's Esophagus

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Esophageal cancer arising from Barrett's esophagus is the second fastest growing type of cancer in the United States. But a new treatment option being offered in Southwest Louisiana can eliminate the abnormal tissue and give patients relief from this condition.

While Felix Thibodeaux is at the stage in life when many people start slowing down, he is still going full-force. This husband, father and grandfather holds a full time job, but hit a road block when pain began creeping in.  "It all started with indigestion a few years back and as the years went by," says Felix, "it developed into something worse."

Felix says it got to the point where he couldn't even sleep at night, unless he was sitting upright.  "It was just awful," he says, "painful and a lot of discomfort."

Felix was diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus - a pre-malignant condition of the esophagus caused by acid reflux disease.  CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital gastroenterologist Francis Bride says, "This condition is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus over a long period of time."

Dr. Bride has been performing the Barrx procedure to treat patients with Barrett's esophagus for about a year and a half.  "Radio frequency waves are administered to the inside lining of the esophagus with a balloon catheter," explains Dr. Bride.

Through the radio frequency waves, Dr. Bride is able to completely remove the Barrett's epithelium without injury to the underlying tissue. For Felix, this treatment changed his life.

"No pain, no problems, no worries," says Felix, "it's a great feeling to know that as bad as this esophagus was, it's been corrected."

*People that should be screened for Barrett's are people who have had a long history of heartburn, especially people who are dependent on acid-reducing medicines.