Study finds new treatment technique for displaced gastric mucosa in the esophagus

Chronic throat irritation, a permanent globus sensation, a sore or dry sensation in the throat are common symptoms, which are often trivialized and wrongly attributed to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. However, these are also the characteristic symptoms of patients suffering from displaced gastric mucosa in the esophagus (ectopic mucosa). The recent study conducted by researchers from MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital has now brought a break-through in the treatment of patients with this condition. For the first time in the world, the new radiofrequency ablation technique has been successfully used in severe cases.

The symptoms are caused by a section of misplaced gastric mucosa, which is found in the esophagus rather than as normal in the stomach during gastroscopy in nearly 10 - 15% of people and this results in chronic damage to the larynx due to the production of acid and mucus. Up until now there has been no safe and effective option for treating pronounced forms of this condition. The first application of radiofrequency ablation brings about a significant improvement in the condition. The study has now been published in the leading journal "Digestive Endoscopy".

Radiofrequency ablation

"Radiofrequency ablation is a state-of-the-art, minimally invasive technique that has been developed for treating the precancerous stages and early stages of esophageal cancer, which we offer on an out-patient basis during a gastroscopy," explains Ivan Kristo, lead author of the study and surgeon at the Department of Surgery of MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital (Head: Michael Gnant). He goes on to explain: "This new technique enables us to deliver a controlled charge of energy that destroys unhealthy tissue while causing minimal side-effects. In the patients we have treated so far, the technique produces an improvement that is visible to the doctor and perceptible to the patient."

New study planned

In order to consolidate the success of the new treatment technique, lead investigator Sebastian Schoppmann, surgeon and Head of the Diseases of the Stomach and Oesophagus working group at MedUni Vienna's Department of Surgery, is currently preparing a randomized, controlled trial. "Our innovation has enabled us to treat patients with this condition for the very first time worldwide."

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