Transoral fundoplication is an effective treatment for patients with GERD

January 22, 2015

Transoral fundoplication is an effective treatment for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), especially for patients with persistent regurgitation despite proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy, according to a new study published in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn.  Also known as acid reflux disease, GERD is one of the major risk factor associated with esophageal cancer, the fastest growing cancer in the United States.

“Despite therapy, patients with GERD often suffer from troublesome regurgitation, which impairs their quality of life,” said lead study author John G. Hunter, MD, from Oregon Health & Science University. “This study offers evidence that transoral fundoplication is effective in eliminating troublesome GERD symptoms, especially regurgitation, with a low failure rate and good safety profile for six months.”

Researchers performed a prospective, sham-controlled trial to determine if transoral fundoplication provided GERD patients with better relief of troublesome regurgitation, or the sensation of acid backing up into a patient’s throat or mouth, when compared to PPI therapy. The researchers randomly assigned 129 patients with troublesome regurgitation despite daily PPI use to transoral fundoplication using the EsophyX-2 device and six months of placebo, or a sham surgery and six months of once or twice daily omeprazole. Patients were then evaluated for six months.

The primary endpoint in this study, elimination of troublesome regurgitation, was achieved in a greater proportion of patients treated with transoral fundoplication than with omeprazole: 67 percent versus 45 percent. Further, a larger proportion of controls demonstrated no response at three months (36 percent) than patients who underwent transoral fundoplication (11 percent). Subjects from both groups who completed the protocol had similar reductions in GERD symptom scores. Severe complications were rare.

GERD remains one of the most common conditions for which Americans take daily medication, and PPI use has more than doubled in the last decade. Despite this, up to 40 percent of PPI-dependent GERD patients have troublesome symptoms of GERD.

Transoral fundoplication — an incisionless procedure that allows physicians to reshape the anti-reflux valve that prevents stomach acid and contents from flowing up into the esophagus — may offer a new treatment option for these patients.

This study provides evidence of transoral fundoplication’s efficacy, and will likely lead to more widespread use of the procedure in clinical practice.. To help health-care decision makers make informed decisions regarding this technology, the AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology has partnered with EndoGastric Solutions® to establish the STAR Registry (Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication (LNF) Surgery Versus Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF®): Anti-Reflux Treatment Registry). The STAR Registry will provide the first real-world data observing patient outcomes following laparoscopic surgery and transoral fundoplication with the EsophyX® device. Learn more about this endeavor here.

Learn more about GERD in the AGA patient brochure.



This post is based on information provided by The American Gastroenterological Association.

Other sources: “Esophageal Cancer On The Rise,” WebMD

Obama, complaining of sore throat, diagnosed with acid reflux

December 7, 2014

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama, who had medical tests on Saturday after complaining of a sore throat, is suffering from acid reflux, the president’s physician said.

“The president’s symptoms are consistent with soft tissue inflammation related to acid reflux and will be treated accordingly,” Obama’s doctor, Captain Ronny Jackson, said in a statement.

Acid reflux is a condition in which the stomach contents flow back up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing such symptoms as heartburn and sore throat.

Obama, 53, went to Walter Reed military hospital for a fiber optic exam of his throat and since swelling was detected, doctors decided to perform a CT scan as well, Jackson said.

“The CT scan was conducted this afternoon purely as a matter of convenience for the President’s schedule. The CT scan was normal,” Jackson added.

Jackson said he recommended Obama go to Walter Reed for the tests after the president complained of suffering from a sore throat over the past couple of weeks.

Jackson did not give any cause for Obama’s case of the illness. There are many risk factors for acid reflux, including smoking, use of alcohol and hiatal hernia, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Most people respond to lifestyle changes and medicines, although many patients need to continue on medication to control their symptoms.

Click here to read the full article "Obama, complaining of sore throat, diagnosed with acid reflux" on

Acid reflux disease, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, is one of the primary risk factors associated with esophageal cancer, the fastest growing cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

It is imperative that people who suffer from heartburn more than twice weekly speak to their doctor.   There are no routine or standard screening tests for esophageal cancer.  Unfortunately, symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing or food getting stuck, typically appear once the cancer has advanced and becomes difficult to treat.

Chronic and severe acid reflux can significantly damage the esophagus.  Not only can it increase the risk of esophageal cancer, but it can lead to other serious health problems, such as ulcers, bleeding and scarring.

Lifestyle changes can help to reduce GERD symptoms.  Click here for some tips to control your acid reflux.

Some medications help to temporarily alleviate GERD symptoms.  However, these medications are typically not intended to be taken for an extended periods of time.  Remember to read the label on these medications and consider the side effects.

Some patients may be candidates for nonsurgical, less invasive options to treat GERD.

As advocates for esophageal health and the prevention of esophageal cancer, we urge everyone suffering from chronic heartburn to consult a medical professional.  Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and options.


Thanksgiving Tips to manage GERD

November 26, 2014

The holidays are a wonderful time of year when family and friends can gather together, share thanks and enjoy an abundant feast filled with our favorite foods.  Certain habits can cause some unwanted holiday heartburn.  Learn how to enjoy the holidays and all of the delicious foods while managing your acid reflux symptoms.


Here are a few tips for you to take with you to the Thanksgiving dinner table:

  1. Limit beverage consumption while eating.  Sometimes fluids, especially carbonated beverages, can cause more gas in the stomach when combined with food intake. Try to drink slowly after you are done eating.


  1. Monitor what you are eating and avoid foods that trigger acid reflux.  Foods that have the worse effects on acid reflux are spicy, fatty, fried and citrus foods. Food and drinks that trigger GERD symptoms vary from person to person, so it is important to know your body and determine which are best for you.


  1. Limit or avoid alcohol.  There are some people, however, who should avoid all alcohol consumption, as even the smallest amounts can cause acid reflux. Alcohol increases the production of stomach acids. Alcohol also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that is in charge of keeping stomach contents from refluxing into the esophagus.


  1. Don’t over-eat.  Ask for a smaller plate, take a small sample from each dish and choose “safe” foods that you’ve predetermined do not flare up your acid reflux symptoms. When you’re feeling tempted to overindulge, ask yourself “Is having that second helping of pumpkin pie worth the hours of pain and misery due to the acid reflux afterwards?”


  1. Chew slowly. Help your digestive system by chewing every bite slowly and thoroughly. Put your fork down in between bites to help remind yourself to go slow while eating.


  1. Wear loose clothing. Clothing which is tight especially around the mid-section can put extra pressure on the abdomen and increase acid reflux symptoms.


  1. Sit upright for several hours after you’ve eaten. Or better yet, take a leisurely family stroll around the neighborhood to help settle your stomach and aid digestion. Avoid any rigorous exercise, as it can upset the digestion process and cause reflux symptoms.


  1. Pass on the after-dinner coffee.  For some, coffee can increase acid reflux and cause symptoms to flare up.  Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have shown to aggravate GERD symptoms.


  1. Ditch all tobacco products.  Tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco not only worsens GERD symptoms, but it can cause people to develop GERD.   Like alcohol, tobacco weakens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and increases stomach acids.



While occasional heartburn is not typically a cause for concern, as billions of Americans experience heartburn at some point in their lives, heartburn that occurs more than twice weekly should not be taken lightly, as it could be an indicator of GERD.  GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease which is a disease of the digestive system.


Also known as acid reflux disease, GERD is a progressive disease, which means that it worsens overtime, especially if it is not properly treated.  The reflux of acids from the stomach damages the lining of the esophagus and can cause major health problems, including an increased risk of esophageal cancer. Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing frequent or chronic heartburn or if your acid reflux symptoms are worsening.

If you, or someone you know, has GERD, RefluxMD has put together an eBook that is surely a must-read!  To download a FREE copy of I Have GERD, Now What?”, click here.


From all of your friends at The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, we wish you a happy, healthy and heartburn-free Thanksgiving!







Study links abdominal fat (visceral) to increased risk of Barrett’s esophagus

February 14, 2014

A recent study shows that carrying more weight in the midsection may increase one’s risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer.

Barrett’s esophagus is “a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) is damaged by stomach acid and changed to a lining similar to that of the stomach.”*  Barrett’s esophagus has been shown to be a precursor to esophageal cancer.  

This study linked a higher amount of visceral fat to a greater risk of Barrett’s esophagus.

The fat located in the abdominal region is either defined as visceral or subcutaneous. Visceral fat surrounds the organs in the abdominal region, while subcutaneous fat is located between the skin and the abdominal wall. 

Researchers reported that the elevated risk of Barrett’s esophagus related to the increase of visceral abdominal fat was found in both those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms and also those who do not experience GERD symptoms.

For a more information on the study, please refer to the following two articles:

“Visceral abdominal obesity measured by CT scan is associated with an increased risk of Barrett’s oesophagus: a case-control study.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

“Visceral adipose tissue increased risk for Barrett’s esophagus.” Healio Gastroenterology

*“Barrett’s esophagus.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine 

Is your heartburn affecting your sleep?

February 11, 2014

Suffering from heartburn, whether be it during the day or at night, is an annoyance that many Americans cope with, some on a daily basis. An alarming 60 million Americans experience it at least once a month and 25 million Americans suffer from heartburn every day. When heartburn is this frequent or severe, people may be diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, more commonly known as GERD.

The United States National Library of Medicine defines GERD as “a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).” This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle between the esophagus and stomach, becomes damaged or weakened.

If not properly treated, long-term sufferers of GERD can develop serious medical conditions, which include chronic cough or hoarseness, esophagitis, bleeding, scarring or ulcers of the esophagus and Barrett’s esophagus, an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus that can potentially raise the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

It is important to note that many patients who are diagnosed with GERD do not experience heartburn at all. Below are the most frequently reported symptoms of GERD:

• Heartburn (a symptom of acid reflux)
• Bad breath
• Burning or pain in the chest or throat
• Chronic cough
• Hoarseness or chronic sore throat
• Bitter taste in mouth
• Inflammation in the mouth and erosion of teeth
• Problems swallowing
• Asthma-like symptoms
• Excessive belching

GERD is amongst the most prevalent upper gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and most likely one of the most common disease diagnosed by Gastroenterologists across our nation.

For many, GERD does not just disrupt their daily routine, but their sleep as well. GERD sufferers who have trouble sleeping at night could also go on to experience other health problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, sleepiness during the day and restless leg syndrome.

It is best to first speak to a gastroenterologist or a primary health care provider to see what options are available to treat GERD effectively. Below are some helpful tips in order to reduce GERD symptoms and enjoy a better night’s sleep.

• Eat smaller meals
• Chew food slowly and thoroughly
• Say upright after meals
• Avoid foods which trigger your GERD symptoms (fats, spicy foods, alcohol)
• Keep a food journal to track your “trigger foods”
• Try sleeping with your head elevated. Either with extra pillows or a wedge pillow
• Restrict your eating in the evening
• Do not eat or drink anything two hours before bedtime (with the exception of water for medications.)

Again, please consult your doctor if you are having problems sleeping at night or are experiencing frequent or severe heartburn.  These suggestions are intended for informational purposes only.

National Sleep Foundation
American College of Gastroenterology