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Published on April 17, 2017

Stretta offers new treatment option for GERD

Erin Connolly, NP, Gundersen Surgery Clinic

Erin Connolly, NP, Gundersen Surgery Clinic

Your patients suffering with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have another minimally invasive treatment option. Gundersen Health System now offers Stretta therapy, a procedure in which radiofrequency energy treats the cause of GERD to produce long-term relief from heartburn, indigestion and other symptoms. The outpatient procedure takes less than an hour and requires little recovery time.

"Stretta is a nonsurgical option for the treatment of reflux, so risks associated with the therapy are much less than with other procedures," says Erin Connolly, NP, with the Surgery Clinic at Gundersen. "Patients go home the same day and should be able to return to work the following day."

During the endoscopic procedure, radiofrequency energy targets the lower esophageal sphincter. When this muscle becomes weak, it can allow stomach contents to back up into the esophagus. "Stretta therapy causes the lower esophageal sphincter to thicken, resulting in an improved barrier function that may prevent reflux and reduce GERD symptoms," Erin says.

Most patients who receive the treatment are able to eliminate or significantly reduce their use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Other benefits of Stretta include that it:

  • Does not require incisions, stitches or implants
  • Treats the cause of GERD
  • Takes less than an hour
  • Requires minimal recovery time
  • Maintains a low side effect profile and high patient satisfaction

How stretta works

Patients interested in Stretta must be evaluated to make sure they are appropriate candidates for the treatment. However, Stretta might be an option for your patients who do not get relief from heartburn or acid reflux from medications; are concerned about taking anti-reflux medications long term; or do not want to have surgery.

Those who have had a Nissen fundoplication for reflux in the past or patients who have had bariatric surgery also may be candidates for Stretta. "Options for treating ongoing GERD after a Nissen or bariatric surgery can be limited, so Stretta gives these patients an option for their symptoms," Erin says.

Insurance coverage for Stretta varies. Gundersen's preauthorization specialist will work with insurance companies to determine coverage.

To refer a patient for Stretta therapy or to learn more about the procedure, contact the Surgery Clinic via MedLink at (608) 775-5465 or (800) 336-5465.

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