Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of stomach contents back up into the esophagus.
In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing stomach contents to flow up into the esophagus.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, known as GERD, is a digestive disorder that affects the muscles of the esophagus near the stomach. While the causes of GERD vary, a common cause of GERD is a hiatal hernia, which is when the upper part of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity. Hiatal hernias are common. For many patients, GERD symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes and intermittent or daily medications.
The Bravo® pH study is a 48-hour test that monitors the pH levels within the esophagus. This will help to determine how much stomach acid is entering the esophagus throughout the day and night. The test records pH levels along the esophagus and documents when the pH levels are at their highest and when they’re normal. By using the Bravo pH test, doctors can determine the severity of a patient’s acid reflux or GERD. The test will also help establish the best treatment for controlling GERD symptoms and preventing damage to the esophagus.
The Stretta® procedure for GERD is a nonsurgical endoscopic procedure that improves the muscle tissue between the stomach and esophagus resulting in a better barrier and the ability to keep acidic contents in the stomach. This leads to improved GERD symptoms and can reduce the need for medications. Stretta® is an option for patients with acid reflux symptoms not controlled with medications or who are unable to use acid blockers long term.