BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The aim of the study was to examine whether endoscopic intralesional corticosteroid injection into recalcitrant peptic esophageal strictures reduces the need for repeat stricture dilation. METHODS: Patients with a peptic esophageal stricture and recurrent dysphagia having had at least one dilation in the preceding 18 months were enrolled in a prospective randomized, double-blind study comparing steroid and sham injection. After endoscopic confirmation of recurrent stricture, patients were randomized to receive either 0.5 cc/quadrant triamcinolone (40 mg/cc) or sham injection into the stricture followed by balloon dilation of the stricture. Patients were stratified by the number of dilations required in the preceding 18 months, severity of dysphagia, the presence of esophagitis, stricture severity, and prior therapy with a proton-pump inhibitor. Patients and their physicians were blinded to the type of intervention received. Baseline dysphagia questionnaires were completed. Post-procedurally all patients were placed on a standardized proton-pump inhibitor regimen and standardized telephone follow-up questionnaires were completed at 1 wk and at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. The original sample-size calculation of 60 patients could not be met in a timely fashion because of a low incidence of recalcitrant peptic stricture patients. RESULTS: A total of 30 patients were enrolled, 15 in the steroid group (10 men, mean age 66 yr) and 15 in the sham group (11 M, mean age 67 yr). Patients were followed for 1 yr, unless they underwent an antireflux operation or died. Two patients, one per group, died of non-esophageal causes at 1 and 12 months. Four patients had fundoplication, two in each group, unrelated to stricture or dysphagia. Two patients in the steroid group (13%) and nine in the sham group (60%) required repeat dilation (p= 0.011). CONCLUSIONS: In patients with recalcitrant peptic esophageal stricture, steroid injection into the stricture combined with acid suppression significantly diminishes both the need for repeat dilation and the average time to repeat dilation compared to sham injection and acid suppression alone.
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