Symptoms of acid reflux include indigestion, heartburn, chest pain, cough, sore throat, voice changes and asthma. Chronic reflux symptoms have a negative impact on quality of life that can affect your health, work-life balance and the ability to socialise with family and friends, especially at mealtimes. Unfortunately, if acid reflux continues over several years it can lead to a condition known as Barrett's oesophagus - which is believed to be a risk factor for oesophageal cancer. Although this risk is small, preventing acid reflux is important.
A new procedure known as ‘Stretta’ is an endoscopic (through the mouth), minimally invasive treatment for acid reflux that takes about an hour under short-lasting general anaesthetic. Radiofrequency energy is applied to the muscle of the lower oesophageal sphincter and gastric cardia. Treatment causes the sphincter to become stronger, thicker and less pliable, preventing acid from the stomach refluxing into the oesophagus. Stretta has an excellent safety profile with a low risk of complications compared to other forms of anti-reflux therapy, including surgery. The majority of patients can have the procedure carried out as a day case, returning home the same day as their admission.
Stretta is the most widely studied minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment option for acid reflux and has been proven safe and effective in more than 37 clinical studies and over 20,000 procedures. Studies show that patients experience significant and lasting symptom relief from acid reflux for up to 4 to 10 years. Clinical trials show up to 93% patient satisfaction with 86% of patients off daily medication at 4 years and 64% of patients off daily medication at 10 years.
To check whether you are suitable for this procedure, please make an appointment to see Dr Chris Fraser, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Spire Shawfair Park Hospital, Edinburgh (www.drchrisfraser.com). A GP referral is not essential. The procedure is available to those with BUPA insurance. It is also available to self-paying patients at a cost of £6,500.