Objective: Using clinical practice guidelines, a registered nurse adjusted antireflux medications, evaluated esophageal biopsy reports, determined the interval between surveillance endoscopies, and provided education for patients with Barrett's esophagus. No previous reports have assessed the effectiveness or patient satisfaction associated with registered nurse-provided primary care. Because estimates of the incidence of dysplasia and adenocarcinoma vary widely, we also prospectively followed a cohort of patients with Barrett's esophagus.
Methods: Charts were reviewed to determine the frequency of variation from guidelines, the annual incidence of dysplasia and adenocarcinoma, and frequency of reflux symptoms. Patients were mailed a questionnaire to assess satisfaction with their medical care and with the nurse.
Results: Variation by the nurse from the guidelines on surveillance endoscopy (1.9%) and the treatment of reflux (1.3%) was rare. Most patients were very satisfied (score of 6 on 0-6-point Likert scale) with overall medical care (88%), and patient education (76%), and most patients did not think that increased physician involvement would improve their care (93%). Ninety-seven percent of patients had control of reflux symptoms. Two patients with long segment Barrett's esophagus (n = 67) developed high grade dysplasia over 323 patient-yr of follow-up (1 of 162 patient-yr for an annual incidence of 0.6%). No patients with short segment Barrett's esophagus (n = 56) developed high grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma over 172 patient-years of follow-up.
Conclusion: The registered nurse in our clinical setting effectively administered clinical practice guidelines for the management of Barrett's esophagus without clinically significant morbidity or patient dissatisfaction. Before these results can be generalized to other settings, further studies will need to be performed.