Background: This multicenter prospective study investigated the longer-term (12 month) safety and efficacy of radiofrequency energy delivery for the treatment of GERD.
Methods: A prospective study was conducted of 118 patients with chronic heartburn and/or regurgitation who required antisecretory medication daily and had demonstrated pathologic esophageal acid exposure, a sliding hiatal hernia (<or=2 cm), and esophagitis (<or= grade 2). RF energy was delivered with the Stretta catheter and thermocouple-controlled generator to create thermal lesions below the mucosa at the gastroesophageal junction. GERD symptom scores, quality of life (SF-36), and medication use were assessed at 0, 1, 4, 6, and 12 months; esophageal acid exposure, motility, and endoscopy were assessed at 0 and 6 months.
Results: Seventy-two men and 46 women were treated. At 12 months, 94 patients were available for follow-up. There were improvements after 12 months in the median heartburn score (4 to 1, p = 0.0001), GERD score (27 to 9, p = 0.0001), satisfaction (1 to 4, p = 0.0001), mental SF-36 (46.3 to 55.4, p < 0.0001), and physical SF-36 (40.9 to 53.1, p = 0.0001); proton pump inhibitor requirement fell from 88.1% to 30% of patients. Esophageal acid exposure improved significantly (10.2% to 6.4%, p = 0.0001). There were 10 (8.6%) complications, none of which required therapeutic intervention.
Conclusion: The Stretta procedure significantly improves GERD symptoms, quality of life, and esophageal acid exposure and eliminates the need for antisecretory medication in the majority of patients at 12 months.