Endoscopic antireflux therapy: the Stretta procedure

Thorac Surg Clin. 2005 Aug;15(3):395-403. Review

The Stretta procedure is safe and effective for the treatment of GERD. There are well-documented clinical trial data supporting its use, including a randomized sham-controlled study, single- and multi-center prospective trials, and community practice reports. The complication rate is within the acceptable range for therapeutic endoscopic procedures and less than the published complication rate for laparoscopic fundoplication. The durability of effect also is established beyond 2 years in several studies. Stretta should be added to the GERD management algorithm specifically for patients considering an antireflux surgical procedure but who are not accepting of the risks of surgery and anesthesia. These patients typically present with incomplete GERD control, despite optimal antisecretory drug therapy, or intolerance to medical therapy. Stretta should be considered only for patients who fit the anatomic inclusion criteria, whereas antireflux surgery should be reserved for those who do not. The decision to undergo antireflux surgery or Stretta must be based on the relative risks and benefits of each procedure. Although antireflux surgery provides better control of esophageal acid exposure than Stretta, the outcomes for GERD symptoms, quality of life, and reduction in PPI use are comparable. Stretta has a low risk of acute adverse events, has no reported cases of long-term dysphagia, and obviates general anesthesia and hospitalization, whereas antireflux surgery has a reported adverse event rate of approximately 2%, a considerable incidence of dysphagia, and requires general anesthesia and 1 to 2 days in the hospital. Another advantage of the Stretta procedure is that antireflux surgery still can be performed in the case of failures. In conclusion, the Stretta procedure offers a minimally invasive, safe, and effective alternative to antireflux surgery for those patients who have GERD who are controlled unsatisfactorily on antisecretory medications, who are considering surgery, and who meet the anatomic criteria that make the procedure technically feasible and safe.