Hyderabad-based Asian Institute of Gastroenterology claimed that it had successfully used a new technique to treat gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is usually termed as acidity.
Anti-reflux mucosectomy (ARMS), invented by Prof Haro Innoue of Tokyo University, was recently used for treatment of a young patient - the first time in the world outside Japan.
‘According to the Indian Society of Gastroenterology, 250 million people in India are suffering from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) also known as acidity.’
D. Nageshwar Reddy, chief of gastroenterology and faculty of Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, said that the patient, a young nurse of a government hospital who had refractory acidity, was completely cured.
The procedure took 28 minutes. He said they modified the technique to bring down the cost to Rs.30,000, which is one-tenth of the cost in Japan.
ARMS is a simple endoscopic treatment, which can be done as outpatient with low complications. It was done on 40 patients in Japan with 99 percent success.
Nageshwar Reddy said this novel technique would revolutionize treatment of acidity, benefiting millions of patients in India. He plans to conduct workshops across the country to teach the technique to doctors.
A task force set by Indian Society of Gastroenterology and headed by Nageshwar Reddy and Shobna Bhatia of KEM Hospital, Mumbai, had found the incidence of GERD to be at least 20 percent in many Indian cities. This means that 250 million people in India are suffering from this disease.
According to Nageshwar Reddy, GERD is related to lifestyle changes, obesity, spicy fatty food, fizzy drinks, smoking and taking pain killers. It can be accurately diagnosed by endoscopy and manometry. Although the main cause is acid refluxing into the esophagus, there is no proper treatment to prevent this.
Medicines are used to suppress gastric acid but the problem recurs if the patient stops taking them. Taking such medicines life long will also have side effects.
The treatment is also possible through laproscopic fundoplication, which is an invasive surgery with mobility and mortality. Till recently, there was no endoscopic treatment for acidity.