Background: Antireflux therapy may lead to recovery of impaired mucosal integrity in gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients as reflected by an increase in baseline impedance. The study objective was to evaluate the effect of endoscopic fundoplication and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) PPI therapy on baseline impedance and heartburn severity in GERD patients.
Methods: Forty-seven GERD patients randomized to endoscopic fundoplication (n = 32) or PPI therapy (n = 15), and 29 healthy controls were included. Before randomization and 6 months after treatment, baseline impedance was obtained during 24-h pH-impedance monitoring. Heartburn severity was evaluated using the GERD-HRQL questionnaire.
Key results: Before treatment, baseline impedance in GERD patients was lower than in healthy controls (p < 0.001). Antireflux therapy increased baseline impedance (from 1498 [IQR 951-2472] to 2393 [IQR 1353-3027] Ω, p = 0.001), however it only led to a partial recovery when compared to healthy controls (2393 [IQR 1353-3027] vs 2983 [2335-3810] Ω, p < 0.01). The effect of both treatment options was not significantly different (p = 0.13) despite the increased number of non-acid reflux events in the PPI group. No correlation was found between baseline impedance and GERD symptoms before or after treatment.
Conclusions & inferences: Reduction in acid reflux by endoscopic fundoplication or PPI therapy leads to an increase in baseline impedance in GERD patients, likely to reflect recovery of mucosal integrity. The impact of non-acid reflux events on esophageal mucosal integrity may be limited as no difference in the increase in baseline impedance was observed after both treatment options. The lack of association between impedance baseline and heartburn severity indicates that other factors may contribute to heartburn perception in GERD.