A simple and practical way to measure reflux control

Posted 22 Nov 2023
Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) is a common condition that affects up to 44 per cent of the western population.

GORD occurs when stomach acid refluxes up into the oesophagus due to a faulty valve. This is also known as ‘reflux’.

When diagnosis and treatment are delayed, chronic reflux can decrease a person’s quality of life and increase the risk for serious health complications including Barrett's oesophagus – the lesion that can progress to oesophageal cancer in some patients.

Associate Professor Sarah Thompson has received a Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant to identify the individuals at highest risk (those with Barrett’s oesophagus) and investigate whether medical or surgical interventions are more effective in treating reflux and preventing oesophageal cancer.

“This study is aimed at validating a simple yet novel method of measuring reflux control using sensors in the oesophagus. If our new method works, it may provide an alternate way of monitoring treatment in patients with reflux. This new test can be performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require an anaesthetic compared to other methods, such as endoscopy,” A/Prof Thompson said.

“It may also help decide best treatment for these patients (i.e. surgery vs. medical therapy). Both medication (e.g. Somac or Nexium) and laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery have trade-offs, and there is not one particular treatment that is better for all patients.”

Research category: Clinical

Project title: Validation of a simple and practical method to monitor the efficacy of medical vs. surgical therapy for patients with Barrett’s oesophagus 

Lead researcher: A/Prof Sarah Thompson


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