Barrett's esophagus is a syndrome described by glandular metaplasia. The cells in the distal esophagus, which are normally stratified squamous epithelium, are replaced with intestinal epithelium. These new cells are nonciliated columnar with goblet cells.
The normally squamous epithelium is replaced with nonciliated columnar epithelium with goblet cells, which is lower intestinal epithelium.
Barrett's esophagus is caused by chronic acid reflux from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Due to chronic exposure to acid reflux, this condition is associated with development of esophagitis, or inflammation of the esophagus.
As Barrett's esophagus occurs from chronic exposure to refluxed acid, it is associated with esophageal ulcer development in patients.
As this is a syndrome of metaplasia, there is always an increased risk of malignancy. Patients with Barrett's esophagus are placed at a higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma.
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