Background Lower esophageal sphincter (LES) electrical stimulation therapy (EST) has been shown to improve outcome in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients at 1 year. The aim of this open-label extension trial (NCT01578642) was to study the 2-year safety and efficacy of LES-EST in GERD patients. Methods GERD patients responsive partially to proton pump inhibitors (PPI) with off-PPI GERD health-related quality of life (HRQL) of ≥20, 24-hour esophageal pH ≤4.0 for >5% of the time, hiatal hernia ≤3 cm, and esophagitis LA grade C or lower participated in this trial. Bipolar stitch electrodes and a pulse generator (EndoStim BV, The Hague, The Netherlands) were implanted laparoscopically. LES-EST at 20 Hz, 215 μs, 3-8 mAmp was delivered over 30-minute sessions, 6-12 sessions per day, starting on day 1 after implantation. Patients were evaluated using GERD-HRQL, symptom diaries, Short Form-12, and esophageal pH testing at regular intervals. Stimulation sessions were optimized based on residual symptoms and esophageal pH at follow-up. Results Twenty-five patients (mean age [SD] = 52  years; 14 men) were implanted successfully; 23 patients participated in the 2-year extension trial, and 21 completed their 2-year evaluation. At 2 years, there was improvement in their median GERD-HRQL on LES-EST compared with both their on-PPI (9 vs 0; P =.001) and off-PPI (23.5 vs 0; P <.001) baseline scores. Median 24-hour distal esophageal acid exposure improved from 10% at baseline to 4% (per-protocol analysis; P <.001) at 2 years with 71% demonstrating either normalization or a ≥50% decrease in their distal esophageal acid exposure. All except 5 patients (16/21) reported complete cessation of PPI use; only 2 patients were using a PPI regularly (≥50% of days). There was significant improvement in sleep quality and daily symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation on LES-EST. At baseline, 92% of the subjects (22/24) reported that they were "unsatisfied" with their condition off-PPI and 71% (17/24) on-PPI compared with 0% (0/21) "unsatisfied" at the 24-month visits on LES-EST. There were no device- or therapy-related serious adverse events and no untoward sensation or dysphagia reported with LES-EST. Conclusion LES-EST is safe and effective for treating patients with GERD over a period of 2 years. LES-EST resulted in a significant and sustained improvement in GERD symptoms, and esophageal acid exposure and eliminated PPI use in majority of patients (16 of 21). Further, LES-EST was not associated with any gastrointestinal side effects or adverse events.
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