Temperature-controlled radiofrequency energy delivery for gastroesophageal reflux disease: the Stretta procedure

J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2001 Dec;11(6):333-9. Review

BACKGROUND: The delivery of temperature-controlled radiofrequency (RF) energy has been utilized effectively for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, sleep-disordered breathing, joint laxity, tumors, and cardiac dysrhythmias. The mechanism of action of RF delivery, depending on the specific disease pathophysiology, is related to wound contraction/remodeling or nerve pathway ablation. More recently, temperature-controlled RF energy delivery has been applied for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). PURPOSE: To review the use of temperature-controlled RF energy in clinical applications, specifically the safety and efficacy data regarding endoluminal delivery of RF energy for the treatment of GERD (Stretta procedure).

RESULTS: Endoluminal RF energy delivery to the gastroesophageal junction for the treatment of GERD is performed using conscious sedation on an outpatient basis. After treatment, medication use is significantly reduced or eliminated at 6 and 12 months, and there is a significant reduction in both the distal and proximal esophageal acid exposure on 24-hour ambulatory pH testing. All studies reviewed demonstrate improvement in GERD symptom scores, heartburn, satisfaction, and quality of life after treatment. There have been no cases of achalasia or stricture resulting from this procedure. Data support both an augmentation of the physical barrier function of the gastroesophageal junction and a reduction in triggering of transient LES relaxations as plausible mechanisms of action for this procedure.

CONCLUSION: Endoluminal RF energy delivery has been shown in several studies to be safe and effective for the treatment of GERD and is a promising new technology for this chronic disorder.