Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder caused by the return of acidic stomach juices, or food and fluids, back up into the esophagus. This "reflux" can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other painful discomfort in the chest and throat. Longstanding GERD has been linked to Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition. So treating GERD early and appropriately is very important.
At the Center for Advanced Digestive Care (CADC) of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, our gastrointestinal specialists offer care for patients with GERD that is based on the latest medical and surgical advances.
Factors which increase the risk of developing GERD include:
For more information about gastroesophageal reflux disease, visit our Health Library.
In addition to taking a complete medical history and performing a physical examination, physicians at the CADC initially diagnose GERD by assessing a patient's symptoms and the response to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the stomach's production of acid. Patients with more complicated GERD may undergo endoscopy (examination of the esophagus using a flexible tube with a camera at its tip).
Our gastrointestinal specialists may also conduct other diagnostic procedures for GERD, such as:
In many cases, GERD can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes which help relieve heartburn. However, physicians usually begin treating GERD by prescribing long-acting prescription-strength medications which reduce the production of stomach acid, or help the stomach empty faster and may tighten the lower esophageal sphincter (LES, the muscle at the end of the esophagus, above the stomach, which is often weaker in GERD patients).
Patients with GERD who cannot take medication long-term, or those for whom it is not effective, may be candidates for a surgical procedure called "laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication." During this procedure, the weakened lower esophageal sphincter is supported by wrapping the top portion of the stomach around the lower esophagus as a bolster. This procedure is performed by surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.
Researchers at the CADC are evaluating several new methods to treat GERD.
There are multiple approaches available at the CADC treating GERD. With a range of medical and surgical options, our team works to determine which approach is best for each patient. Visit the Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders Laboratory page to learn more about diagnosis and surgical treatment of GERD, and learn about thoracic surgical options as well.
To schedule an appointment, call the Center for Advanced Digestive Care at 1-877-902-2232. You can also view profiles of CADC physicians online.