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General enquiries:
+44 (0)207 935 4444
Book an appointment:
+44 (0)207 616 7693
Self-pay enquiry:
+44 (0)203 219 3315

Barrett’s oesophagus is caused by reflux of stomach acid and bile into the oesophagus (the long, muscular tube connecting your mouth and stomach causing irritation and inflammation. This is known medically as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD or GERD).

Barrett’s oesophagus is a precancerous condition. If untreated, there is a small but real chance that it will lead to oesophageal cancer.

In Barrett’s oesophagus, the lining of the bottom part of the oesophagus changes from being pink, like the lining of the mouth, to red, like the lining of the bowel. This happens because it protects the oesophagus from the damaging effects of acid reflux, which are associated with symptoms of GORD such as heartburn. Most people with Barrett’s oesophagus have bad reflux but are relatively free of symptoms.

GORD (or GERD as it is often known) is common, but only one in 10 people with acid reflux or heartburn symptoms develop Barrett’s oesophagus. This condition also causes no problems for 9 out of every 10 people who develop it.

Unfortunately, without treatment the remaining one in 10 people with Barrett’s oesophagus could eventually develop oesophageal cancer. This happens in three stages:

  • The first is the development of low-grade dysplasia: which refers to an abnormal collection of cells that are not currently cancerous but could turn cancerous at a later date
  • Development of high-grade dysplasia can follow: the abnormalities in the cells arise at a faster rate, and the cells start to divide faster.
  • Oesophageal cancer: the cells of the oesophagus divide out of control, and can spread to other sites of the body.

Not everyone moves through all three stages; most people with low-grade dysplasia will not get oesophageal cancer. It is thought that half the people with high-grade dysplasia will develop oesophageal cancer.

However, the risk is there, but it can be reduced if the precancerous cells in the oesophagus are destroyed at an early stage. This is now possible using a new treatment; HALO radiofrequency ablation, which is approved as an effective treatment by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).


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Facilitating acute admissions into The London Clinic whilst maintaining the highest levels of safety and care, supported by a consultant on-call rota.

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Main numbers

General enquiries: 020 7935 4444Appointments: 020 7616 7693Self-pay: 020 3219 3315

Other numbers

Concierge service: 020 3219 3323International office: 020 3 219 3266Invoice and payment enquiries: 020 7616 7708

Your call may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

Medical service numbers

Breast services appointments: 020 7616 7653 Diagnostics appointments: 020 7616 7653 Endoscopy appointments: 020 7616 7760 Eye centre appointments: 020 7616 7768 Haematology appointments: 020 7535 5503 Kidney services appointments: 020 7224 5234 Liver services appointments: 020 7616 7719 Physiotherapy appointments: 020 7616 7651 Radiology appointments: 020 7616 7653

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