ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
CANCER
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
CAREGIVING
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
The Food Irradiation Story
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Add your Article

Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Two traditional nonsurgical methods for correcting the anatomical flaw responsible for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) produce only fair to middling results, a new study shows.

Experts also noted that newer procedures have essentially taken the place of the techniques examined in the study.

GERD is a condition in which acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus, because the valve separating the two is faulty. Its problems include heartburn, voice symptoms and cough. It can be treated by medications such as proton pump inhibitors, which reduce acid levels, but best results require surgery to repair the valve.

But surgery has its own problems, so nonsurgical methods of treating GERD have long been used. A new report in the January issue of the Archives of Surgery described how the two methods were put to the test in a study of 124 people treated at Emory University in Atlanta.

Of these, 68 underwent radiofrequency therapy, in which a beam of energy waves is aimed at the muscles of the esophagus and stomach to improve the function of the valve. The others had full-thickness plication, in which a long, narrow tube called an endoscope carries in instruments to suture the junction between the stomach and the esophagus.

In an average follow-up of six months, the incidence of moderate to severe heartburn decreased from 55 percent to 22 percent among those undergoing radiofrequency therapy. Use of GERD drugs decreased from 84 percent to 50 percent, and there were fewer reports of swallowing difficulties, voice symptoms and cough.

In the full-thickness plication group, moderate to severe heartburn decreased from 53 percent to 43 percent. Medication use decreased from 95 percent to 43 percent, and decreases were reported for voice symptoms and swallowing difficulties.

However, it is an underwhelming report, said Dr. Anthony A. Starpoli, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, not only because better results were hoped for, but also because both methods are considered obsolete.

"We're talking about older, and not commercially available, techniques that have been supplanted by newer and more effective techniques to perform incisionless surgery," Starpoli said.

The full-thickness plication method was taken off the market last year, and radiofrequency therapy is rarely used in major centers, he noted.

Two new techniques now are used in many medical centers. One, whose brand name is EsophyX, allows surgical repair of the valve without an incision, with instruments inserted through the mouth.

A second technology, the EndoCinch, also uses instruments inserted down the throat, so that tissues can be stitched together to improve function of the valve.

"This EsophyX technique allows for robust remodeling of the anti-reflux barrier," said Starpoli, who uses it himself. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of those undergoing the procedure stop using GERD drugs, which is close to the 90 percent of those having standard surgery, he said.

"I probably do 100 reflux surgeries a year, and probably half to a third would be candidates for this [EsophyX]," said Dr. Reginald Bell, an assistant clinical professor of surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

That method is less aggressive than standard surgery, and so it is attractive to "a host of patients under medical [drug] therapy to whom current surgical technique does not appeal," Bell said. "Ordinary surgery is more aggressive than they need, their symptoms are not so bad that they need to go to surgery. This is really the first device to do internally what we know we can do externally."

Reports on the EndoCinch technique have been less enthusiastic; several European studies have said the beneficial effects of the procedure decrease or disappear with time.

More information

The full GERD story is available through the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Anthony A. Starpoli, M.D., gastroenterologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Reginald Bell, M.D., assistant clinical professor, surgery, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver; January 2009, Archives of Surgery

Last Updated: Jan. 23, 2009

Copyright 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com