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Senior Health Week: Acid Reflux - Ulcers
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Acid Reflux - Ulcer News:

New Procedure for Treating GERD Shows Positive Results

A new procedure to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has received positive results in a study conducted by Dr. William O. Richards, Professor of Surgery and Director of Laparoendoscopic Surgery at Vanderbilt University.

The Stretta System procedure gives doctors the tools to perform a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure in which precisely controlled radiofrequency energy is used to create thermal lesions in the muscle of the lower esophageal sphincter. When the lesions heal, the function of the sphincter is improved, resulting in an often dramatic reduction in GERD symptoms.

A catheter is inserted in the patient's throat to the junction of the esophagus and stomach and a balloon is inflated and needle electrodes are deployed from a basket surrounding the balloon into the tissue. Radiofrequency energy is directed from the control module through the electrodes to create thermal lesions in the vicinity of the lower esophageal sphincter. General anesthesia is not required for the procedure.

A total of 41 patients were treated with the Stretta procedure in Richard's study. Nearly all of the patients had symptoms of GERD that were severe enough to require at least twice daily proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication to alleviate their symptoms.

The researchers reported at a meeting of the 8th World Congress of Surgery and Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons in New York City that esophageal acid exposure and symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation were reduced to a statistically significant degree after the Stretta procedure. Following the procedure, 27 of the 41 patients no longer needed any PPI medication and 13 of the remaining 14 patients required less medication.

"The Stretta procedure fills a very important need in the management of GERD, significantly improving acid exposure and medication use in the majority of patients I have treated," said Richards.

Source: Medical Week staff, week of April 7, 2002






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