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Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that there was not enough to be sure about how well electrical stimulation of the lower oesophageal sphincter for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) works or how safe it is. The 4 case series that NICE looked at involved a total of 69 patients.

Generally, they suggested the following benefits:

  • fewer days and nights with heartburn and reflux

  • fewer swallowing difficulties

  • improved quality of life and increased satisfaction with treatment

  • improved sleep quality

  • a reduction in the medicines taken for GORD

  • a reduction in inflammation of the oesophagus.

The studies showed that the risks of electrical stimulation of the lower oesophageal sphincter included:

  • puncture of the small bowel in 1 patient, which was repaired and the device was removed

  • pain or discomfort in up to 46% of patients

  • mild or moderate difficulty in swallowing in about 10% of patients, which got better without treatment

  • nausea or vomiting in up to 12% of patients

  • weight loss or anorexia in about 12% of patients

  • fever, superficial skin infection over the stimulator, break down of the leads (leading to device removal), and hernia repair, each in 1 patient.

NICE was also told about some other possible risks: a blood clot in a deep vein in the body and chest infection.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard