New reflux guidelines released

April 13, 2007

Bethesda, Md. - April 13, 2007 - New, updated guidelines for esophageal reflux testing appear in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Developed and approved by the American College of Gastroenterology, these guidelines summarize advances in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) diagnostic testing and how they have modified the clinical management of esophageal disorders.

"Gastroenterologists are confronted with an increasing number of patients presenting symptoms of GERD that are unresponsive to drug therapy," says lead author Dr. Ikuo Hirano. "These patients may have typical reflux symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation but also may complain of chest pain, asthma, chronic cough and chronic laryngitis." This confusing list of symptoms, coupled with the fact that many of these patients do not have visible esophageal erosions, makes diagnosis and treatment of GERD a challenge. Furthermore, non-gastrointestinal entities, such as cardiac or pulmonary disease, may produce symptoms that are similar to those attributable to GERD.

Some new technologies offer opportunities for more accurate diagnoses. "Wireless capsule pH monitoring, bile acid reflux monitoring devices and esophageal impedance can all improve the detection of reflux," says Dr. Hirano. These technologies have helped gastroenterologists to discover new forms of reflux, and to better characterize traditional acid reflux.

Of course, all technologies have limitations, and the new guidelines highlight these as well. In addition, recommendations on the clinical applications of esophageal reflux testing are presented.
-end-
This study is published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Dr. Ikuo Hirano is an associate professor of medicine and director of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellowship Program at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He can be reached for questions at i-hirano@northwestern.edu.

The American Journal of Gastroenterology meets the day-to-day demands of clinical practice. Aimed at practicing clinicians, the journal's articles deal directly with the disorders seen most often in patients. The journal brings a broad-based, interdisciplinary approach to the study of gastroenterology, including articles reporting on current observations, research results, methods of treatment, drugs, epidemiology, and other topics relevant to clinical gastroenterology. For more information, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com/ajg.

The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) was founded in 1932 to advance the scientific study and medical practice of diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The College promotes the highest standards in medical education and is guided by its commitment to meeting the individual and collective needs of clinical GI practitioners. For more information, please visit www.acg.gi.org.

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 medical, academic, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and has over 6,000 books in print. The company employs over 1,000 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Denmark, Germany, and Japan and officially merged with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.'s Scientific, Technical, and Medical business in February 2007. Blackwell's mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with our clients that enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice. For more information on Blackwell Publishing, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com or www.blackwell-synergy.com.

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