Care and Treatment for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Why Choose Treatment for GERD at University of Colorado Hospital?
University of Colorado Hospital is ranked among the nation’s top programs for treating digestive disorders, including GERD.
We offer patients access to the latest diagnostic breakthroughs and treatment options. We provide the largest range of specialty treatments in the Rocky Mountain region and are deeply involved in clinical research and product development, which keeps us at the cutting edge of endoscopic technology.
What is GERD, or Acid Reflux Disease?
GERD is a disease in which stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus). This constant backwash of acid can irritate and inflame the lining of your esophagus.
Frequent or constant heartburn is the most common symptom of gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), or Acid Reflux Disease.
Heartburn is a common ailment, and an occasional occurrence is usually no cause for concern. Frequent heartburn, though, can be a serious problem and can warrant medical attention.
Long-term GERD can sometimes lead to Barrett's Esophagus. This is a condition in which the cells lining the lower esophagus change in color and composition because of repeated exposure to stomach acid.
Only a small percentage of people with GERD develop Barrett's. Once it is diagnosed, however, there's a greater risk of developing esophageal cancer. Fortunately, the increased risk is small – less than one percent a year.
Treatments for GERD
Most people manage heartburn discomfort with lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications. But if your heartburn is severe, these remedies may offer only temporary or partial relief. You may need more potent medications to reduce symptoms, or require endoscopic treatment or surgery.
If you do not want surgery or lifelong medication, University of Colorado Hospital offers outpatient, minimally invasive endoscopic procedures. These procedures are done using an endoscope, a small, flexible tube with a light and lens on the end, used to look into gastrointestinal organs.
Two of our endoscopic procedures for GERD are:
Endocinch procedure – stitches the junction between your esophagus and stomach, using a sewing capsule attached to an endoscope. This narrows the opening to prevent acid reflux.
Plicator device – passes through your mouth into your stomach where it places a single suture-based implant near the junction between the esophagus and stomach. This helps restructure the normal anti-reflux barrier.
Treatments for Barrett's Esophagus
You can reduce your chance of developing Barrett's – by making lifestyle changes.
If the condition does develop, we monitor for early warning signs of dysplasia and cancer with endoscopy. When changes are found the lower esophagus must be surgically removed or its lining destroyed to prevent esophageal cancer from developing.
Two of the effective endoscopic techniques that our doctors use to remove the lower esophagus are:
Ablation Therapy – A small balloon catheter is inserted into your esophagus and correctly positioned. Then energy is applied to the esophageal lining, and the Barrett’s tissue is removed.
Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) – Performed through an endoscope, EMR lifts up the Barrett’s lining, injects a solution under it or applies suction, then cuts away the lining.