Conference Coverage

Upper GI tract


Rhonda Souza, MD, AGAF, started off this session with a review of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). She explained the challenges of the six-food elimination diet and described an alternative step-up elimination diet. In one study of the step-up elimination diet, food triggers were identified in 88% of patients during the reintroduction of food groups. Proton pump inhibitors are recommended for patients who do not respond to or refuse diet therapy; 30%-50% of patients with EoE will respond to the drugs. She explained that PPIs might have eosinophil-reducing effects independent of gastric acid–lowering effects, and said that PPIs should be stopped for 3-4 weeks before a diagnostic endoscopy is performed if EoE is suspected. Dr. Souza also spoke about topical steroids, biologic agents, and gradual esophageal dilation.

Ronnie Fass, MD, then addressed the management of patients with documented gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn without documented GERD, who are unresponsive to PPIs. He referred to the management algorithm that he and Prakash Gyawali, MD, MRCP, published this year (Gastroenterology 2018;154:302-18), and described the optimization of PPI therapy before doubling the dose, as well as the testing that should be done if the dose increase does not relieve symptoms. Dr. Fass showed that there are various possible mechanisms for refractory GERD or heartburn, including weakly acidic or alkaline reflux, functional heartburn, and reflux hypersensitivity. He reviewed the Rome IV diagnostic criteria and treatment for the latter two conditions, and discussed the role of esophageal manometry to exclude esophageal motor disorders in patients with refractory GERD and heartburn.

Dr. Lin Chang, UCLA GI fellowship program

Dr. Lin Chang

Colin Howden, MD, AGAF, presented data on the risks and benefits of PPIs. He reviewed the Hill criteria to prove causation and methodically reviewed whether these criteria applied to various reported risks of PPIs, from C. difficile infection and bacterial gastroenteritis to kidney disease and interference with calcium absorption. He concluded that the absolute risks are low, that most data are retrospective and prone to bias, and that causality has generally not been demonstrated. Benefit usually outweighs risk if there is a valid indication for PPI use, he said, but the lowest effective dose should be used.

Jan Tack, MD, PhD, then reviewed functional dyspepsia (FD). He described the Rome IV criteria for FD and the two main subtypes of epigastric pain syndrome (EPS) and postprandial distress syndrome (PDS), noting that some patients have both. Dr. Tack then discussed the pathophysiologic mechanisms and treatment approaches. For EPS, he recommended a trial of PPIs, then tricyclic antidepressants, and for refractory cases, behavioral therapy. For PDS, he recommended a prokinetic agent if available or acid suppression. If no response, then a 5HT1A agonist such as buspirone can be used for early satiety or mirtazapine for those with weight loss. In refractory cases, he said, a prokinetic agent such as prucalopride can be considered if there is delayed gastric emptying.

Baharak Moshiree, MD, AGAF, discussed the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic nausea. Gastrointestinal causes include FD, gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Dr. Moshiree outlined the Rome IV criteria for chronic nausea and vomiting syndrome, cyclic vomiting syndrome, and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. She also described the overlap between FD and gastroparesis and noted that nausea is a common symptom of both. Various tests can be used to rule out structural GI causes and to measure motility and gastric accommodation. In addition to treatment such as antiemetics, prokinetic agents, and neuromodulators, Dr. Moshiree examined the evidence of emerging therapies such as aprepitant, an NK1 antagonist, for gastroparesis or unexplained chronic nausea and vomiting.

Barham Abu Dayyeh, MD, MPH, addressed endoscopic management of patients after bariatric surgery. He showed that hemorrhage or marginal ulcers postsurgery can be treated with PPIs, hemoclips for bleeding ulcers, and endoscopic suturing or surgery for recalcitrant ulcers. He also discussed the management of a stenosis after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, which now includes lumen-opposing stents, as well as the management of leaks from sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass and the management of biliary complications. Lastly, he reviewed the modifiable risk factors for weight regain after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, such as gastrogastric fistula and gastrojejunal stoma dilation, and how they can be endoscopically managed.

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