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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Barrett Esophagus

It is possible that the main title of the report Barrett Esophagus is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • BE
  • Barrett metaplasia
  • Barrett ulcer
  • columnar-lined esophagus

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Barrett esophagus is a condition in which the cells that make up of the tissue of the lower end of the esophagus are abnormal. The esophagus is the thin tube that connects the back of the throat to the stomach. Chronic inflammation and ulceration of the lower end of the esophagus eventually causes the cells normally found there to be replaced by cells normally found in the intestines (intestinal metaplasia). Since most patients with Barrett esophagus have acid reflux disease, they suffer from heartburn and/or acid regurgitation; Barrett esophagus does not cause any specific symptoms. The disorder is considered a premalignant condition and affected individuals are at an increased risk (although their overall risk remains low), of developing cancer (adenocarcinoma), of the esophagus. Barrett esophagus usually occurs more often in individuals with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), a condition characterized by backflow (regurgitation), of the contents of stomach into the esophagus. The exact reason these tissue changes occur in Barrett esophagus is unknown.


Digestive Disease National Coalition
507 Capitol Court, NE
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20002
Tel: (202)544-7497
Fax: (202)546-7105

NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases
Office of Communications & Public Liaison
Bldg 31, Rm 9A06
31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
Tel: (301)496-3583

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
700 W. Virginia St., 201
Milwaukee, WI 53217
Tel: (414)964-1799
Fax: (414)964-7176
Tel: (888)964-2001

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 55071 #15530
Boston, MA 02205-5071
Tel: (607)257-1141
Fax: (607)255-0349
Tel: (800)601-0613

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 12/8/2011
Copyright 1986, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2011 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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