HALO Radiofrequency Ablation
HALO radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a safe and effective nonsurgical outpatient treatment for Barrett's esophagus, a condition in which the lining of the esophagus is replaced by tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestine through a process called intestinal metaplasia. In many cases, this change in tissue is caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Left untreated, Barrett’s esophagus may progress to a precancerous condition called dysplasia, an immediate precursor to esophageal cancer. Your physician may recommend HALO if you have dysplasia or a family history of esophageal cancer from Barrett’s esophagus. Radiofrequency ablation can prevent abnormal, damaged cells from developing into cancer and allow healthy cells to replace them.
During the HALO procedure, radiofrequency energy removes the diseased esophageal tissue, allowing healthy tissue to grow in its place.
How to Prepare for HALO Radiofrequency Ablation
You should not eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to the procedure, or after midnight if your appointment is in the morning. Your doctor will let you know if or when you should adjust or stop any medications you take. Because you will be sedated, you will need someone to drive you home after the procedure.
What to Expect
HALO radiofrequency ablation is performed during an upper endoscopy. A mouth guard will be placed to protect your teeth and gums. Your throat may also be numbed with a spray to calm the gag reflex. You will lie on your left side and receive sedation through an IV line to relax you and make you feel drowsy. Your doctor will insert the endoscope through your mouth and into your esophagus.
A catheter containing a miniaturized electrode is fed through the endoscope. The electrode delivers short bursts of high-intensity heat energy to destroy precancerous tissue on the lining of the esophagus while minimizing injury to surrounding healthy tissue.
Larger areas of diseased tissue are treated with a balloon-mounted catheter while smaller areas are treated with an endoscope-mounted catheter.
HALO usually takes approximately 30 minutes. After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room while the sedative wears off. You may experience temporary discomfort, such as a sore throat, painful swallowing, and increased levels of heartburn after the procedure. Your doctor will discuss any unexpected side effects that may occur and a plan to address them.
Your doctor will prescribe antacid medications to help the esophagus heal. For most people, healthy tissue replaces the diseased tissue within 3 or 4 weeks.
Common Side Effects:
Patients may experience some side effects after their procedure which should resolve within a few days. Your Physician will provide you with medications for these symptoms. These side effects include:
- Chest pain
- Painful swallowing
- Stricture formation
- Mucosal laceration/perforation
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