Patients in the North east of England will be the first in the
country to be treated with a new technique for narrowing of the
oesophagus as five of the region's hospitals take part in a
clinical research study. The study is being funded by the Research
for Patient Benefit stream of the National Institute of Health
Research. It is being conducted at five hospitals in the North
East, in partnership with the Wolfson Research Institute, Durham
University, Queen's Campus, Stockton.
The trial is being led by Dr Anjan Dhar, Consultant
Gastroenterologist at Darlington Memorial and Bishop Auckland
Hospitals, who is the Chief Investigator. The study will look at a
novel way of treating patients with narrowing of their gullet
(benign oesophageal stricture) using a self dissolving stent placed
Benign oesophageal stricture is a narrowing or tightening of the
gullet that causes difficulty in swallowing food. Symptoms can
include a sensation of food sticking mid chest, choking, coughing
Presently patients with this condition are treated by stretching
of the gullet using a balloon passed through an endoscope (camera),
and patients often require this treatment on a regular basis to
keep the gullet open. During this Study, the five hospitals
will collaborate to treat patients at County Durham, North Tees,
South Tees, Gateshead and South Tyneside, using a new
expandable biodegradable stent with a view to avoid the need
for repeated endoscopies.
Speaking about the Study, Dr Dhar said, "This Study is the first
NIHR funded Study in Endoscopy in the North East, and is supported
by a collaborative initiative through the Northern Region Endoscopy
Group (NREG), and Durham University. It will study whether placing
a stent is clinically useful and more cost effective for the
management of these patients. If successful, it will change the way
we treat patients, since patients may not need repeated endoscopies
and stretching and could be managed by a single placement of the
stent. It will also save the NHS significant costs involved in
The County Durham Study team consists of: Claire Shaw (GI
Research Nurse), Staff at the endoscopy unit at Bishop Auckland
(where the procedures will be carried out), Professor James Mason
of Durham University and is supported by consultant colleagues in
Gastroenterology and Endoscopy across all participating trusts.
It is a randomised controlled trial where patients will be
allocated to two arms by a computer - one group will receive the
standard treatment of balloon dilatation and the other group will
receive the stent. Both groups will be followed up for a year and
the results analysed by Durham University.
The Study will recruit 50 patients over a 2 year period, with
results being available in 2013.
Published: 12 April 2011
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