Delivery of radiofrequency energy to the lower oesophageal sphincter and gastric cardia inhibits transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations and gastro-oesophageal reflux in patients with reflux disease

Gut 2003;52:479-285

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Radiofrequency energy (RFe) treatment to the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) and gastric cardia is a new luminally delivered therapy proposed as an alternative treatment for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). However, it is unclear how RFe achieves its antireflux effect. This study investigated the effects of RFe on mechanisms of spontaneous reflux in patients with GORD.

METHODS: Twenty patients with GORD underwent endoscopy, symptom evaluation, and combined postprandial oesophageal manometry and pH monitoring before and six months after RFe, and 24 hour ambulatory pH monitoring before and at six and 12 months after treatment.

RESULTS: RFe reduced the rate of postprandial transient LOS relaxations from 6.8 (5.7–8.1) (median (interquartile range) per hour to 5.2 (4.2–5.8) per hour (p<0.01), and increased mean basal LOS pressure from 5.2 (SEM 0.3) mm Hg to 8.0 (SEM 0.4) mm Hg (p<0.01). The number of reflux events was reduced from 10 (2–15.3)/3 hours to 5 (3.5–8.5)/3 hours (p<0.05) and there was an associated significant reduction in acid exposure time from 5.4% (0.4–14.7) to 3.9% (0.4–6.6) (p<0.05). RFe significantly reduced ambulatory oesophageal acid exposure from 10.6% (7.8–13.0) to 6.8% (3.1– 9.1) (p<0.01) at six months and 6.3% (4.7–10.9) (p<0.05) at 12 months. All patients required acid suppressant medication for symptom control before RFe. Six months after treatment, 15 patients (75%) were in symptomatic remission and 13 (65%) at 12 months.

CONCLUSIONS: RFe has significant effects on LOS function that are associated with improvement in the antireflux barrier. Uncontrolled clinical data also suggest a beneficial effect in the control of reflux symptoms in these patients.