Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
A number of endoscopic techniques have been described for the treatment of reflux disease. These include endoscopic plicators, which place submucosal or transmural sutures around the lower oesophageal sphincter, the Stretta procedure, which places minute areas of thermal injury in the muscle of the lower oesophageal sphincter and cardia, and injection techniques, in which inert substances are injected into the mucosa or the muscle of the lower oesophagus. The mechanism of action of these procedures has been studied to varying degrees. The Stretta procedure is the only endoscopic technique that has been shown to be effective in a sham-controlled trial. Complication rates are generally low, but serious complications have been reported in some cases. The results with some of these techniques are promising, but all procedures described to date are limited by the absence of large, rigorously controlled trials against a form of treatment that has been proven to be both safe and effective (medical therapy). Future studies will need to use controls, validated outcome measures and pre-determined end-points and to provide comparative and long-term data.
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