According to a new study by New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill-Cornell Medical College presented at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW), usual methods to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal problems are controversial and lead to a high rate of misdiagnosis.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when stomach acid or bile flows back into the esophagus from the stomach, causing acid reflux and heartburn. The usual method used to treat this condition is to submit the patient to an eight eight-week trial of proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) and then to observe the patient to see if symptoms subside.
According to David Kleiman, MD, a research fellow in the department of surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital, “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,”. This leads to unnecessary expenses and increased medical risks linked to extended PPI use.
The Kleiman study looks at the benefit of having a 24H PH monitoring during 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. Many doctors and patients find this procedure expensive and inconvenient however Dr. Kleiman demonstrates in his study that if a 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring was conducted immediately after the their eight-week PPI trial, a third of the patients would avoid being misdiagnosed and unnecessarily being prescribed PPI during an extended period.