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A randomized, prospective trial of electrosurgical incision followed by rabeprazole versus bougie dilation followed by rabeprazole of symptomatic esophageal (Schatzki's) rings.

BACKGROUND: Lower esophageal (Schatzki's) rings are a common cause of solid food dysphagia. Standard treatment involves passage of a single large bougie to disrupt the ring, but symptoms recur in the majority of patients. Electrosurgical incision of the ring may provide a longer duration of symptom improvement. There are no data on the treatment of Schatzki's rings in the presence of acid suppression treatment.

OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to compare the efficacy of bougie dilation with electrosurgical incision of symptomatic Schatzki's rings at 1-year follow-up in the presence of rabeprazole treatment.

DESIGN: Randomized, prospective trial.

SETTING: University of Utah Health Sciences Center and the Veterans Affairs Salt Lake.

PATIENTS: Fifty patients referred for endoscopic evaluation of dysphagia between January 2002 and March 2005.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Symptom-free survival time (in months), dysphagia, and GERD scores.

RESULTS: Twenty-five patients each underwent bougie dilation and electrical incision and were followed up for 12 months. Symptom-free survival times were significantly longer in the incision group (7.99 months) compared with the bougie dilation group (5.86 months) (P = .03). Dysphagia and GERD scores significantly improved in each group comparing baseline with each time interval. The incision group had greater relief of dysphagia at 1 month (P = .05) compared with the bougie group. There was no difference between GERD scores in both groups.

LIMITATIONS: Dysphagia and GERD symptoms were self-reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Electrosurgical incision of Schatzki's rings is safe and offers longer symptom-free survival compared with bougie dilation. The addition of rabeprazole offered significant improvement in GERD scores in both groups.

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