The specialists of the General Surgery and Digestive System service of Quirónsalud Torrevieja answer the most frequently asked questions about Barrett’s oesophagus (BE).
What is Barrett’s oesophagus?
Barrett’s oesophagus is a condition in which the lining of the distal oesophagus, next to the entrance to the stomach, is damaged by acid reflux, causing this lining to be replaced by a different one and causing Barrett’s oesophagus.
Risk actors for Barrett’s oesophagus:
Being a man.
Age. It can occur at any age but is most common in adults over age 50.
Smoking or having smoked.
What symptoms are most common?
Patients with Barrett’s oesophagus have the same symptoms as those with gastroesophageal reflux disease: heartburn and regurgitation.
In addition, symptoms such as difficulty swallowing food and chest pains also appear, although to a lesser extent.
For some people, this gastroesophageal reflux disease can trigger a change in the cells lining the lower oesophagus and cause Barrett’s oesophagus.
Most people with a diagnosis of Barrett’s oesophagus report few or no symptoms.
What are the dangers of this disorder?
Barrett’s oesophagus is linked to an increased risk of developing oesophageal cancer.
“Although the risk of oesophageal cancer is low, it is important to have regular endoscopic check-ups and biopsies of the oesophagus to check for precancerous cells (dysplasia).” Explain the specialists of Quirónsalud Torrevieja.
What tests are performed for its diagnosis?
The test performed is upper endoscopy.
What treatments are there?
Treatment depends on the degree of cellular alteration of the oesophageal epithelium and the patient’s condition.
Periodic endoscopy, to monitor the state of the epithelium of Barrett’s oesophagus by means of biopsies, should be performed periodically every 1-2 years, depending on the type of cellular alteration.
In addition, gastroesophageal reflux should be treated with medications and lifestyle change.
When to operate?
Antisecretory medication, such as omeprazole, reduces the risk of development and progression of Barrett’s oesophagus, but they are not effective in facilitating complete prevention, since they do not completely prevent the passage of stomach acid into the oesophagus, which continues to injure the oesophageal mucosa.
Therefore, anti-reflux surgery is considered superior to antisecretory medication in controlling Barrett’s oesophagus, and should be offered to patients as the best therapeutic option, reporting benefits as well as possible side effects.
What is the success rate of this surgery?
“The success rate of anti-reflux surgery is over 90% at 5 years,” say the specialists.
Recommendations to avoid reflux
A healthy diet, we eliminate spicy products, citrus fruits, tobacco, alcohol, coffee …
Do not make copious meals.
Do not go to bed until 2 or 3 hours after eating.
Sleep with your head held high to prevent reflux from rising.
Sleep on the left so that our stomach does not turn towards the oesophagus.
Lead a stress-free life.
Do not wear very tight garments.
Avoid taking drugs that reduce the tone of the lower oesophageal sphincter.
What is Barrett’s oesophagus surgery?
The surgery is performed laparoscopically and consists of making a valve with the patient’s own stomach, like a tie, that surrounds the oesophagus.
This valve prevents the acidic contents of the stomach from rising into the oesophagus and damaging the mucosa.
How is the postoperative period?
“It is an operation that in expert hands has practically no complications and 24-48 hours the patient is discharged to his home, being able to lead a normal life 7-10 days after surgery” explains the specialists of Quirónsalud.
Quirónsalud Torrevieja receives the golden seal of the Joint Commission International, the most demanding quality accreditation in the world in the health field
The Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja has been accredited with the golden seal of the Joint Commission International, the highest distinction granted by this body, after an exhaustive audit in which more than 1,200 quality standards have been analysed, which the hospital rigorously complies with.
This accreditation of the Joint Commission International is the most demanding worldwide for the health field and analyses that all the care and processes of the hospital are focused on safety and quality, and in a process of continuous improvement.
Continuous improvement of quality and safety in care at Quirónsalud Torrevieja
The achievement of accreditation means an official recognition of the great effort to improve the safety and quality of care, guaranteeing a safe patient care environment and permanent work for the reduction of risks.
The Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja has carried out multiple actions in order to promote a safety culture established throughout the organisation, working on the improvement of the six international safety objectives recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO): unequivocal identification of the patient, effective communication between professionals, improvement of safety in the use of high-risk medicines, safe surgery, decreasing the risk of infections and reducing the risk of falls.
The audit team has highlighted as a differentiating element of the Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja the great teamwork of the hospital, the excellence in the safety culture and the involvement and enthusiasm with the continuous improvement of the hospital.
The organisations accredited with this prestigious seal (which must be renewed every three years), respond to an international demand for evaluation in the health sector through quality levels based on evaluable standards and comparable with other countries, with the aim of stimulating constant improvement.
The Quirónsalud Group also holds this accreditation from the Teknon Medical Centre, the Dexeus University Hospital, the Quirónsalud Barcelona Hospital, the Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital, the Quirónsalud Córdoba University Hospital, the Ricardo Palma Clinic in Lima (Peru), and the Imbanaco Clinic in Cali (Colombia).
Last year, Quirónsalud became the first private hospital group in the world to obtain the Joint Commission International Enterprise accreditation, as well as the first health entity in Europe to do so. The fact of having this recognition is an additional guarantee for patients seeking the best health care to treat their health problems.
What is Joint Commission International?
The Joint Commission International is a non-profit organisation, which has been working since the 90s in more than 100 countries to improve patient safety and quality of care, offering health accreditation services internationally. This organisation audits hospitals, health systems and agencies, government ministries and institutions, promoting rigorous standards of care. JCI is the most prestigious health accreditation in the world for its high level of demand, for the safety it provides to the patient and for the rigorous and exhaustive evaluation of all care processes.
Keys to a healthy heart free of risks
The specialists of the Cardiology Unit at Quirónsalud Torrevieja answer the most frequently asked questions about cardiovascular diseases.
What is cardiovascular pathology?
Cardiovascular disease refers to the pathological process that affects the entire arterial system, not only the coronary arteries, but also the brain, legs and the rest of the body.
Therefore, when we talk about cardiovascular disease we refer to stroke, transient ischaemic attack, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, intermittent claudication and arterial ischaemia as manifestations of cardiovascular disease, among others.
The pathological process involved is usually atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fats, cholesterol and other substances within the wall of the arteries, causing progressive narrowing and even complete obstruction, blocking the flow of blood that should reach a part of the body.
Prevention of cardiovascular diseases
In addition to exhaustively treating the classic risk factors such as arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia (hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridaemia) and tobacco consumption, there are a series of measures that help prevent the onset and progression of cardiovascular disease. The cardiology experts at Quirónsalud have drawn up the following list:
– Nutrition: is the integrating pillar for both prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
– Exercise: most cardiovascular risk factors are improved by a combination of aerobic exercise, resistance training and stretching.
– Mind-heart interactions: A clear association between emotional state and heart health has been observed. Stress can induce ischaemia by causing both epicardial and microvascular vasoconstriction.
How to prevent heart disease
At Quirónsalud, heart health experts and cardiologists recommend the benefits of a comprehensive lifestyle intervention programme, including: nutritional changes through a low-fat, vegetable-based diet, frequent physical exercise and stress management, all of which have shown the disappearance of angina pectoris in 74% of patients included in the study by Frattaroli et al.
In addition, as shown in the 2011 study by Sattelmair et al in the scientific journal Circulation, walking 30 minutes 5 days a week reduces the risk of ischaemic heart disease (angina pectoris or myocardial infarction) by 14%.
Risk factors for heart disease
There are certain risk factors for heart disease that are not within our control, such as genetic inheritance, age, gender and environmental pollution. However, by knowing these factors in each person’s specific situation, we can take appropriate measures to try to minimise the harmful effects of these risk factors.
Keeping the heart healthy
Stress is pervasive in our lives today and we need to learn how to manage it effectively. Stress can induce ischaemia by different mechanisms, but it also alters autonomic regulation and triggers the release of circulating catecholamines that can even trigger stress cardiomyopathy. In the 2012 study by Schneider et al, it was shown that meditating twice a day can reduce cardiovascular events by up to 48%.
Diet to prevent heart disease
One of the best-studied dietary approaches in cardiology is the Mediterranean diet, which consists of increasing vegetable and fruit intake, giving preference to whole grains over refined grains, reducing red meat and increasing fish consumption, with a predominant use of olive and rapeseed oil.
Sport for an active heart
The sport with the most cardiovascular benefits would be one that combines aerobic exercise, resistance training and stretching.
Walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week has been shown to play a beneficial role in cardiovascular risk management. Thus, sports such as running, cycling, jogging, trekking or swimming would fulfil this role. A notable cardiovascular benefit has also been demonstrated with tai chi, a form of martial art from ancient China that is characterised by smooth, flowing movements.