Background: Barrett's esophagus is a premalignant condition induced by gastroesophageal reflux. The aim of this prospective study was to assess the efficacy of argon plasma coagulation in combination with high-dose omeprazole therapy to ablate nondysplastic Barrett's epithelium.
Methods: In 73 patients with histologically confirmed Barrett's epithelium, argon plasma coagulation was used in combination with maximal acid suppression (omeprazole 40 mg three times a day). Histologic and endoscopic changes were evaluated at 6- and 12-month intervals.
Results: In 69 of 70 patients (98.6%) complete squamous regeneration was achieved after a median of 2 argon plasma coagulation sessions (range 1 to 5). During a median follow-up of 12 months (range 2 to 51 months) there has been no relapse or evidence of the development of dysplasia under continuous acid suppression. Three patients (4.3%) developed a mild stricture of the distal esophagus that resolved after a single session of bougie dilation.
Conclusions: In our experience, argon plasma coagulation in combination with high-dose omeprazole treatment is an effective and safe technique for complete ablation of nondysplastic Barrett's epithelium. Restoration of squamous mucosa after argon plasma coagulation appears to be long-lasting.