Background: This study aimed to assess whether endoscopic implantation of an injectable esophageal prosthesis, the Gatekeeper Reflux Repair System (GK), is a safe and effective therapy for controlling gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Methods: A prospective, randomized, sham-controlled, single-blinded, international multicenter study planned final enrollment of 204 patients in three groups: up to 60 lead-in, 96 GK, and 48 sham patients. The sham patients were allowed to cross over to the GK treatment arm or exit the study at 6 months. The primary end points were (1) reduction in serious device- and procedure-related adverse device effects compared with a surgical composite complication rate and (2) reduction in heartburn symptoms 6 months after the GK procedure compared with the sham procedure. The secondary end point was improved esophageal pH (total time pH was <4) 6 months after the GK procedure compared with baseline.
Results: A planned interim analysis was performed after 143 patients were enrolled (25 lead-in, 75 GK, and 43 sham patients), and the GK study was terminated early due to lack of compelling efficacy data. Four reported serious adverse events had occurred (2 perforations, 1 pulmonary infiltrate related to a perforation, and 1 severe chest pain) at termination of the study with no mortality or long-term sequelae. Heartburn symptoms had improved significantly at 6 months compared with baseline in the GK group (p < 0.0001) and the sham group (p < 0.0001), but no significant between-group difference in improvement was observed (p = 0.146). Esophageal acid exposure had improved significantly at 6 months compared with baseline in the GK group (p = 0.021) and the sham group (p = 0.003), but no significant between-group difference in improvement was observed (p = 0.27).
Conclusions: The GK procedure was associated with some serious but infrequent complications. No statistically significant difference in outcomes was observed between the treatment and control groups at 6 months compared with baseline.