Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid and food in the stomach reflux (back up) into the esophagus.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • You may bleed too much or develop an infection after surgery. Surgery to treat GERD can also make you may feel bloated after meals.

  • If GERD is not treated, the lining of the esophagus may form ulcers and bleed. This may cause blood to appear in your vomit or bowel movement. Ulcers may heal into scars that can narrow the esophagus. GERD may lead to cancer or other medical problems if it is not treated.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Soft food diet:

You may be allowed to eat soft foods. Some examples are applesauce, baby food, bananas, cooked cereal, cottage cheese, eggs, gelatin, pudding, and yogurt.

Telemetry

is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.

Tests:

You may have one or more of the following tests:

  • Esophageal manometry: This test measures the pressure within the esophagus and stomach.

  • Esophageal pH monitoring: A small probe is placed inside the esophagus to check the pH in the stomach and esophagus. The pH measures how much acid is in your esophagus and stomach. It can also measure the amount of acid that refluxes into the esophagus.

  • Imaging tests:

    • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy: This test is also called an EGD. Caregivers use a scope to look at and take pictures of the inside of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine and helps your body digest food.

    • Upper gastrointestinal x-ray: This is also called an upper GI series. Pictures of your esophagus, stomach, and intestines (bowel) are taken during an upper GI.

Treatment options:

You may have one or more of the following treatments:

  • Medicines:

    • Antacids: This medicine decreases the stomach acid that can irritate your esophagus and stomach.

    • Histamine type-2 receptor blockers: This group of medicines is also called H2 blockers. They block acid production in the stomach.

    • Proton pump inhibitors: This medicine group is also called PPIs. They block acid production in the stomach.

    • Promotility agents: These medicines cause the lower esophageal sphincter and stomach to contract (tighten) more. These medicines may cause miscarriages and should not be used by pregnant women.

  • Surgery: Surgery may be done when your medicines cannot control your symptoms or other problems are present. Fundoplication is surgery to wrap the upper part of the stomach around the esophageal sphincter to strengthen it. Ask your caregiver for more information about surgery used to treat GERD.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Inpatient Care)

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