Korea’s Chung-Ang University Hospital (CUH) Study Evidences Surgery Superior to Drugs to Address GERD

Surgeon at work.

Chung-Ang University Hospital (CUH) in South Korea has completed a study they claim proves that surgery is superior to drugs in treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Due to a lack of awareness about surgery most patients in Korea still, rely on medication.

Background in Korea

According to the Korean National Health Insurance Corporation, only 342 patients with GERD received the laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication surgery between 2012 and 2016, while up to 3.1 million people received high-dose medications during the period. While GERD increases recent research suggests the surgery may be more effective than medications.

The Study

Professor Park Joong-min of CUH conducted a study evaluating 51 patients with GERD who underwent laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication surgery at five local hospitals, including CUH, for heartburn, gastric acid reflux, swallowing disorders, a typical symptoms, and surgical complications, as well as the quality of life for three months before and after surgery. The team also compared the effectiveness and validity of surgical and medication treatment. The study was published in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

The Results

The results revealed that there were no complications in the patients who received the laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. The study team found 97% of patients saw their heartburn symptoms completely cured and 94.3% saw their GERD symptoms resolved 3 months after the surgery. 73% of the patients stated they were satisfied with the treatment results three months after the surgery compared to 11.8% before receiving the operation.

What is Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication? 

This is a minimally invasive procedure that restores normal functioning in the body’s natural reflux barrier (lower esophageal sphincter). Stanford Health Care articulates that their surgeons are among the most experienced in the United States.

Investigator Comment

Professor Park noted, “The results of this study proved that compared to medication, laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication surgery is an effective treatment to improve symptoms and quality of life for GERD patients.” He continued “To obtain the best outcome, it is important for hospitals to select patients for surgery by conducting an accurate diagnosis.”

Lead Research/Investigator

Professor Park Joong-min, Chung-Ang University Hospital (CUH) 

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