GERD has emerged as an important medical issue by virtue not only of its high prevalence, but also by the concern that it may predispose to adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. It generally is classified into erosive and nonerosive forms. Nonerosive GERD tends to remain as such in most patients, and treatment is based on symptom relief. In contrast, erosive GERD mandates aggressive lif long treatment based on its inevitable relapse without appropriate treatment. Two excellent therapies are available for GERD. Proton-pump inhibitors are highly efficacious and have an excellent long-term (>10 years) safety profile. Laparoscopic fundoplication offers a new and easier method of delivering a standard reliable procedure also with excellent long-term efficacy. The occurrence of Barrett's esophagus among reflux patients has emerged as an important problem mostly because of the rapidly rising incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus in the population. All patients with long-standing reflux symptoms should be screened for Barrett's and subsequently followed regularly with surveillance endoscopy if Barrett's is detected. Although there are no data to show that aggressive medical or surgical treatment alters the malignant potential of this disease, patients need lifelong therapy.
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