Background and study aims: The impact of the diagnosis and treatment of dysplastic Barretts esophagus on quality of life (QoL) is poorly understood. This study assessed the influence of dysplastic Barretts esophagus on QoL and evaluated whether endoscopic treatment of dysplastic Barretts esophagus with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) improves QoL. Patients and methods: We analyzed changes in QoL in the AIM Dysplasia Trial, a multicenter study of patients with dysplastic Barretts esophagus who were randomly allocated to RFA therapy or a sham intervention. We developed a 10-item questionnaire to assess the influence of dysplastic Barretts esophagus on QoL. The questionnaire was completed by patients at baseline and 12 months. Results: 127 patients were randomized to RFA (n=84) or sham (n=43). At baseline, most patients reported worry about esophageal cancer (71% RFA, 85% sham) and esophagectomy (61% RFA, 68% sham). Patients also reported depression, impaired QoL, worry, stress, and dissatisfaction with the condition of their esophagus. Of those randomized, 117 patients completed the study to the 12-month end point. Compared with the sham group, patients treated with RFA had significantly less worry about esophageal cancer (P=0.003) and esophagectomy (P=0.009). They also had significantly reduced depression (P=0.02), general worry about the condition of their esophagus (P0.001), impact on daily QoL (P=0.009), stress (P=0.03), dissatisfaction with the condition of their esophagus (P0.001), and impact on work and family life (P=0.02). Conclusions: Inclusion in the treatment group of this randomized, sham-controlled trial of RFA was associated with improvement in disease-specific health-related quality of life. This improvement appears secondary to a perceived decrease in the risk of cancer.
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