Background: Alginates form a raft above the gastric contents, which may suppress gastro-oesophageal reflux; however, inconsistent effects have been reported in mechanistic and clinical studies.
Aims: To visualise reflux suppression by an alginate-antacid [Gaviscon Advance (GA), Reckitt Benckiser, UK] compared with a nonraft-forming antacid using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and to determine the feasibility of pH-impedance monitoring for assessment of reflux suppression by alginates.
Methods: Two studies were performed: (i) GA and antacid (Alucol, Wander Ltd, Switzerland) were visualised in the stomach after ingestion in 12 healthy volunteers over 30 min after a meal by MRI, with reflux events documented by manometry. (ii) A randomised controlled, double-blind cross-over trial of post-prandial reflux suppression documented by pH-impedance in 20 patients randomised to GA or antacid (Milk of Magnesia; Boots, UK) after two meals taken 24 h apart.
Results: MRI visualized a "mass" of GA form at the oesophago-gastric junction (OGJ); simple antacid sank to the distal stomach. The number of post-prandial common cavity reflux events was less with GA than antacid [median 2 (0-5) vs. 5 (1-11); P < 0.035]. Distal reflux events and acid exposure measured by pH-impedance were similar after GA and antacid. There was a trend to reduced proximal reflux events with GA compared with antacid [10.5 (8.9) vs. 13.9 (8.3); P = 0.070].
Conclusions: Gaviscon Advance forms a 'mass' close to the OGJ and significantly suppresses reflux compared with a nonraft-forming antacid. Standard pH-impedance monitoring is suitable for clinical studies of GA in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease patients where proximal reflux is the primary outcome.
© 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.