Dr. Shaheen acknowledged certain limitations of the study, including the fact that the functional status of the fundoplications was not known. "All we know is that some patients had them," he said. "These are observational data and subject to selection bias. Also note that this is hardly a pure comparison, because the people who got fundoplication were also getting PPIs. However, one might expect that to bias the study in favor of fundoplication, to the degree that the addition of PPIs helps."
The study was funded by Covidien, which provided the RFA equipment used in the study, and by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Shaheen disclosed that he has consulting relationships with numerous pharmaceutical and medical device companies, but none with Covidien.