Patients with Barrett’s esophagus have an increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma. However, this accounts for a small proportion of deaths in these patients.
There have been reports that other causes of death are raised in this group of patients.
In this study, physicians examined cause specific mortality among patients with Barrett’s esophagus.
The team constructed a register of all patients diagnosed with columnar mucosa of the esophagus within Northern Ireland between 1993 and 1999.
Any deaths which occurred within this cohort were identified. The team compared mortality rates with that of the general population.
The researchers found that overall mortality was not raised in Barrett’s patients.
|Mortality from stroke was significantly lower in the Barrett's esophagus group.|
During 7413 person years of follow-up in 2373 patients the team recorded 253 deaths
They found that mortality from esophageal cancer was raised in patients with specialized intestinal metaplasia. However, only 5% of patients died from this cancer.
The team determined that mortality from stroke was significantly lower in the Barrett's esophagus group than the general population. However, mortality from non-cancerous digestive system diseases was significantly higher.
The team determined that mortality rates from all other causes were similar to those of the general population.
Dr Anderson's team concluded, "This study demonstrates that the overall mortality rate in patients with Barrett’s esophagus is closely similar to that of the general population".
"Esophageal cancer mortality was raised but is an uncommon cause of death in these patients who also appear to have a reduced risk of death from stroke".