Objective: The utility of endoscopy in the management of patients with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is unclear. The purpose of this prospective study was to assess the impact of endoscopy on the subsequent management of patients with uncomplicated reflux symptoms.
Methods: A total of 742 patients underwent endoscopy for symptoms of GERD. Endoscopists recorded the therapy before endoscopy, the findings of endoscopy, and the treatment recommendations after endoscopy.
Results: There was no difference in pre-endoscopy therapy or grade of esophagitis in subjects undergoing endoscopy for failed therapy versus GERD symptoms alone. After endoscopy, the most common strategy for patients taking omeprazole was to maintain or increase the dose. For those taking an H2 blocker before endoscopy, the most common outcome was to switch the patient to omeprazole, independent of the grade of esophagitis.
Conclusions: Most patients undergoing endoscopy for symptoms of GERD were switched to omeprazole regardless of the endoscopic findings. No esophageal cancer was identified and the incidence of Barrett's esophagus was low. It appears that endoscopy itself did not change the management of patients receiving H2-blocker therapy. A trial of a proton pump inhibitor before endoscopy should be considered.