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Surgery May Be More Beneficial Than Drugs for Esophageal Reflux

Improves quality of life and symptoms such as heartburn, reflux and bloating

WEDNESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery improves quality of life and relieves symptoms better than drugs in patients with gastro♠esophageal reflux disease (GERD), at least in the short and medium term, according to a review in the March issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Samantha M. Wileman, Ph.D., from the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed four randomized trials involving 1,232 patients with GERD to compare the effect of medical management (drug tablets) versus laparoscopic fundoplication surgery on quality of life.

The researchers found significant improvements in health-related quality of life at three months and one year after surgery. There were also significant improvements in GERD-specific quality of life. Heartburn, reflux and bloating were reduced after surgery, although some patients had persistent postoperative dysphagia, and the rate of postoperative complications was low.

"At present, the evidence suggests that laparoscopic fundoplication surgery is more effective for the treatment of GERD compared to medical treatment, but there is limited data to show whether these benefits are sustained long-term," Wileman and colleagues conclude. "Treatment decisions for GERD should be based on patient and surgeon preference."

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