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New research identifies practice changes to improve value and quality of GI procedures
Date:5/18/2013

Orlando, FL (May 18, 2013) There are significant cost and risk factors associated with two procedures commonly used to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal problems, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).

A study by New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill-Cornell Medical College suggests that more objective testing may substantially reduce the cost and risk of managing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although GERD is believed to affect nearly 25 percent of adults, researchers found that almost a third of patients undergoing treatment have no measurable signs of the chronic condition. The study projected cost-savings of up to $7,300 per patient over 10 years if current diagnostic guidelines were changed.

"Many patients remain on proton-pump inhibitors for years after the trial period without any confirmation that they are being treated for the right diagnosis," said David Kleiman, MD, a research fellow in the department of surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital. "A prompt pH monitoring test could help clinicians to accurately diagnosis GERD, increase healthy outcomes for patients and save people money."

GERD occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back into the food pipe from the stomach, causing acid reflux and heartburn. Methods for diagnosing and treating it remain controversial. Most guidelines recommend an eight-week trial of proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) to reduce acid secretion. Clinicians then observe the patient to see if symptoms subside.

The study compared this approach with 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring, in which a small tube is passed through the nose into the stomach. The tube is attached to a recorder worn at the belt to track acid levels.

"The misconceptions about pH monitoring are that it's unnecessary, expensive or too inconvenient," added Dr. Kleiman. "But, the benefits seen in our study show that pH monitoring should be strongly considered."

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Contact: Aimee Frank
newsroom@gastro.org
301-941-2620
Digestive Disease Week
Source:Eurekalert

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