Evaluation of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may present with a variety of symptoms, including heartburn, regurgitation, dysphagia, chronic cough, laryngitis, or even asthma. Therefore, the clinical presentation of GERD varies among individuals and conversely symptoms not always correspond to the presence of actual reflux. For that reason, the diagnosis poses certain challenges to the physician. To overcome these challenges, a thorough clinical examination followed by objective functional testing could improve diagnostic accuracy. In addition, a proper evaluation of patients with GERD can help in identifying those who will likely benefit the most from an antireflux procedure. The diagnostic work-up of these patients should include: symptomatic evaluation, upper endoscopy, barium swallow, high-resolution manometry, and ambulatory pH monitoring. Once a proper diagnosis of GERD is achieved, antireflux surgery is an excellent option for patients with partial control of symptoms with medication, for patients who do not want to be on long-term medical treatment (compliance/cost), or when complications of medical treatment occur.
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