Purpose: Studies of endoscopic application of radiofrequency energy to the lower esophageal sphincter for gastroesophageal reflux control have produced conflicting reports of its effectiveness. This study aimed to conduct a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and cohort studies to assess the impact of this treatment.
Methods: Twenty studies were included. Outcomes analyzed included gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptom assessment, quality of life, esophageal pH, and esophageal manometry.
Results: A total of 1441 patients from 18 studies were included. Radiofrequency treatment improved heartburn scores (P=0.001), and produced improvements in quality of life as measured by GERD–health-related quality-of-life scale (P=0.001) and quality of life in reflux and dyspepsia score (P=0.001). Esophageal acid exposure decreased from a preprocedure Johnson-DeMeester score of 44.4 to 28.5 (P=0.007).
Conclusions: Radiofrequency ablation of the lower esophageal sphincter produces significant improvement in reflux symptoms and may represent an alternative to medical treatment and surgical fundoplication in select patients.