Archive August 2016 XVII, No. 8

5 New Technologies for Treating GERD

The list of minimally invasive surgical and endoscopic options is expanding.

Ronnie Fass

Ronnie Fass, MD


treating GERD HELP ON THE WAY Several promising technologies for treating GERD have either recently been approved by the FDA, or likely will be in the next few years.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) leaves a bad taste in millions of mouths every day. The large number of sufferers (estimates range as high as 30% of the U.S. population), combined with growing concerns about the medications traditionally used to treat it (see "Serious Side Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitors"), are creating a huge potential market for minimally invasive surgical and endoscopic procedures. Here's a look at 5 promising new approaches the FDA has either recently approved or is likely to in the next few years.

Approved by the FDA in 2000, Stretta (marketed by Mederi Therapeutics) is indicated for patients who have hiatal hernias smaller than 2 cm, and unlike the others, it's done under conscious sedation. A specialized catheter that you insert through the mouth, into the esophagus, delivers low levels of non-ablative radiofrequency energy to the lower esophageal sphincter and top of the stomach to strengthen the muscle between the stomach and esophagus.

It's time-tested (studies go back 10 years or more) and has been proven to reduce esophageal acid exposure and the need for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and improve health-related quality of life. Patients are usually able to go home within a few hours and resume normal activities the next day. Typically they're weaned off their PPIs within about 8 weeks and see significant improvement within 3 months. Many Medicare and private insurers cover the procedure.

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