Over the past decade, a number of endoscopic techniques have been developed as alternatives to medical and surgical treatment of gastroesophageal ref lux disease (GERD). The driving force was to provide an outpatient transoral, endoscopic procedure effective in controlling reflux in a portion of patients with GERD. Three major technologies emerged, although each use different approaches to augment the barrier function of the lower esophageal sphincter, mechanisms may be similar. These include Endocinch which tightens the gastroesophageal junction via a set of suture plications around the lower esophageal sphincter, Stretta, which delivers radiofrequency energy at the cardia, and Enteryx, which is an inert polymer injected into the muscle layer of the gastroesophageal junction. To date, the underlying mechanism of action of these procedures has not been completely elucidated, although each alters the compliance of the GEJ and thus its ability to respond to a "refluxogenic stress". The target population currently consists of proton pump inhibitor-dependent GERD patients, with little or no hiatal hernia and without severe esophagitis or Barrett's. The Stretta procedure is the only procedure to date to be subjected to a sham-controlled trial. Registries of complications suggest that these techniques are relatively safe, but serious morbidity including rare mortality have been reported. All can be performed on an outpatient basis. Future comparative studies with predetermined end points, validated outcome measures, prolonged follow-up, and complete complication registries are needed to determine the role of endoscopic procedures in the clinical practice of patients with GERD. Evolution of the current technologies will almost certainly occur, and a commonly performed, efficacious endoscopic antireflux procedure is likely to emerge.
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