What is acid reflux relief?

In medically oriented terms, antonyms of the word relief include pain, distress or damage. That links its meaning to both subjective and objective aspects. Subjective, denoting sensations experienced by the sufferer such as pain and objective, meaning physical findings detected by specialists which are either functional distress or organic damage. Actually relief is related to control measures and it quantitatively signifies removal of an unpleasant existence or reduction of its magnitude. The definition of relief, therefore encompasses alleviation of pain, relaxation of distress and healing of damage. Acid reflux on the other hand has two sides; the subjective side (symptoms) which reflects the symptom of heartburn and the objective side (signs) that reflects the functional and/or organic signs of esophageal changes. Acid reflux relief is therefore a broad term that covers all the measures used to control symptoms and signs of acid reflux disease. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter remains closed except during swallowing. This prevents the passage of food and acid from the stomach into the esophagus. If the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weakened or relaxed, stomach acid may back up into the esophagus. Frequent acid reflux can irritate and inflame the lining of the esophagus, causing symptoms and signs of acid reflux. A better understanding of relief would thus entail knowledge of some aspects of normal structure and function, so that changes in the disease and its control could be easily considered. Actually acid reflux relief involves both preventive and curative measures, and in addition to treatment; orientation with the causes, symptoms and complications of acid reflux are essential for proper management. Acid reflux relief includes: dietary changes,lifestyle modifications, specific medications and surgical operations.Basic knowledge of the underlying causes and progression of acid reflux and answering frequently asked questions about its relief; add to the depth of understanding.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Acid Reflux Relief logoEndoscopic evaluation

Endoscopic visualization of the esophagus equates to the physical examination of the foregut and is a critical part of the preoperative evaluation of patients with GERD. Its main aim is to detect complications of GE reflux, the presence of which may influence therapeutic decisions.
In every patient, the locations of the diaphragmatic crura, the GE junction, and the squamocolumnar junction are determined. These anatomic landmarks are commonly at three different sites in patients with GERD. The crura are usually evident and can be confirmed by having the patient sniff during the examination. The anatomic GE junction is identified as the point where the gastric rugal folds meet the tubular esophagus and is often below the squamocolumnar junction, even in patients without otherwise obvious Barrett's esophagus.
Endoscopic esophagitis is defined by the presence of mucosal erosions . When present, the grade and length of esophageal mucosal injury are recorded. The presence and length of columnar epithelium extending above the anatomic GE junction is also noted. It is suspected at endoscopy when there is difficulty in visualizing the squamocolumnar junction at its normal location and by the appearance of a velvety red luxuriant mucosa. The presence of Barrett's esophagus is confirmed by biopsy evidence of specialized intestinal metaplasia and is considered histologic evidence of GERD. Endoscopic visualization of columnar lining without histologic confirmation of specialized intestinal metaplasia is not considered Barrett's esophagus and likely has no premalignant potential. Multiple biopsies should be taken in a cephalad direction to determine the level at which the junction of Barrett's epithelium and normal squamous mucosa occurs. Barrett's esophagus is susceptible to ulceration, bleeding, stricture formation, and malignant degeneration. Dysplasia is the earliest sign of malignant change. Because dysplastic changes typically occur in a random distribution within the distal esophagus, a minimum of four biopsies (each quadrant) every 2 cm should be obtained from the metaplastic epithelium. Particular attention must be paid to the squamocolumnar junction in these patients, where a mass, ulcer, nodularity, or inflammatory tissue is always considered suspicious for malignancy and requires thorough biopsy. The GE junction is defined endoscopically where the tubular esophagus meets gastric rugal folds, and the squamocolumnar junction is where there is an obvious change from the velvety and darker columnar epithelium to the lighter squamous epithelium.
After completion of the esophageal examination, the first and second portions of the duodenum and the stomach are systematically inspected. This is commonly done on withdrawal of the endoscope. When the antrum is visualized, the incisura angularis appears as a constant ridge on the lesser curve. Turning the lens of the scope 180 degrees allows inspection of the fundus and cardia. Attention is paid to the frenulum (angle of His) of the esophagogastric junction and to the closeness with which the cardia grips the scope. The appearance of this valve have been graded on a scale from I to IV according to the degree of unfolding or deterioration of the normal valve architecture. This grading system has been correlated with the presence of increased esophageal acid exposure, occurring predominantly in patients with a grade III or IV valve.
A hiatal hernia is endoscopically confirmed by finding a pouch lined with gastric rugal folds lying 2 cm or more above the margins of the diaphragmatic crura. A prominent sliding hernia is frequently associated with increased esophageal exposure to gastric juice. When a paraesophageal hernia exists, particular attention is given to exclude a gastric ulcer or gastritis within the pouch. The intragastric retroflex or J maneuver is important in evaluating the full circumference of the mucosal lining of the herniated stomach. As the endoscope is removed, the esophagus is again examined and biopsies taken. The location of the cricopharyngeus is identified and the larynx and vocal cords are visualized. Acid reflux may result in inflammation of the larynx. Vocal cord movement is recorded both as a reference for subsequent surgery and an assessment of the patient's ability to protect the airway.