The Associated Press reports that the FDA has approved two new non-pharmaceutical procedures for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. These two endoscopic treatments are the first non-drug treatments for acid reflux.
The first procedure, developed by Curon Medical Inc., is called the Stretta procedure. According to Curon's Web site, the Stretta procedure uses a radiofrequency catheter to deliver thermal energy to the tissues of the gastroesophageal junction. The controlled thermal injury causes some tissue to be reabsorbed and the remaining tissue to shrink. The smaller opening keeps stomach contents from making their way into the lower esophageal space.
Patients and providers can visit Curon and watch a movie demonstrating the procedure.
The second procedure, developed by C.R. Bard Inc., is known as the Bard Endoscopic Suturing Procedure. During the procedure, a thin, flexible endoscopic tube is inserted down a consciously sedated patient's throat. At the end of the endoscope, a tiny device, much like a miniature sewing machine, is used to place stitches in
two different locations near the lower esophageal sphincter. The suturing material is
then tied together to "tighten" the valve, which, like the Stretta procedure serves the purpose of preventing stomach
contents from flowing back up into the esophagus. The procedure
is performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can typically
return to normal activities the next day.