[Gastroesophageal reflux disease: pathophysiology, diagnosis and drug therapy]
Boermeester, M A × van Sandick, J W van Lanschot, J J Boeckxstaens, Guy Tytgat, G N Obertop, H #
Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde vol:142 issue:23 pages:1306-10
The principal mechanism leading to gastro-oesophageal reflux is an increased frequency of transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations; other factors are oesophageal hypersensitivity to gastric juice, hiatus hernia, and possible duodenal reflux. Patients with classical symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation may be treated pharmaceutically combined with life style counselling. If the symptoms have not improved after 6 to 12 weeks, endoscopical examination is performed and, if necessary, 24-hour pH monitoring, barium radiographing and manometry. In the case of atypical symptoms such as dysphagia, laryngitis, asthma and chest pain, there is more reason to pursue diagnostic testing. In patients with dysphagia endoscopy is indicated to exclude malignancy. Drug treatment can be subdivided into antacids, H2 receptor antagonists, cytoprotective agents, prokinetics and proton pump inhibitors. In general practice a step-up approach to treatment is preferable, while for specialist treatment a stepdown approach is more (cost-)effective. Drawbacks of medical treatment are considerable frequency of recurrence of oesophagitis, persistence of regurgitation in 'volume refluxers' and controversial data on the possible development of (pre)malignant lesions of oesophagus and stomach. Surgical treatment is a good alternative for patients with persistent severe regurgitation during medical therapy and for young patients who prefer surgery to lifelong medication. Patients with Barrett's oesophagus should undergo regular endoscopic biopsy surveillance.