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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2005 December;51(4):303-12


language: English

Endoscopic therapy for gastroesophageal reflux disease

Louis H., Devière J.


Endoscopic therapies aimed to reduce gastroesophageal reflux have gained an enormous enthusiasm during the last 5 years when several of them were approved by the regulatory agencies and released on the market. These novel therapies comprise 3 types of techniques: injection/bulking, plicating/suturing and radiofrequency thermal injury. Open-labelled trials performed on proton pump inhibitors-responding patients with typical gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms have shown an improvement in reflux symptoms during short term follow-up. Longer-term data are now available and show disappointing results with partial-thickness plications of the cardia. Randomized sham-controlled trials, which are essential to proof the efficacy of GERD endotherapy because of a known high placebo effect in the management of GERD patients, have been conducted, one with radiofrequency and one with polymer injection, and have confirmed the clinical efficacy of both techniques, although the clinical benefit was less impressive than suggested in open-labelled trials. While mechanistic studies have suggested that the compliance of the gastroesophageal junction might be altered by GERD endotherapy, objective assessment of acid reflux with ambulatory pH-metry has shown, however, minimal or no modification by the treatment. Concerns about the safety of these new techniques have raised when complications were reported as the number of treated cases increased. Currently, no definite indication is established for each technique, but numerous potential indications exist and should be addressed in the setting of carefully designed clinical trials. Physicians should be patient and wait for proof of efficacy and safety of these techniques before using them in their clinical practice. Specific and extensive warning should be obtained before starting clinical application. The present review aims to provide a comprehensive and critical view of endoscopic therapy in GERD management.

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