Gastroesophageal reflux disease related symptoms are reported by 10-20% of the adult population and of those 50-75% report symptoms during sleep time. The prevalence of nocturnal GERD (nGERD) is estimated to be about 25% in general population. nGERD causes sleep fragmentation, difficulty falling asleep, daytime sleepiness, reduced work productivity and decreased quality of life. Additionally, nighttime gastroesophageal reflux has been associated with increased risk of GERD-related complications such as severe erosive esophagitis, peptic stricture, esophageal ulcer, Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Furthermore, nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux has been noted to be associated with atypical and extra-esophageal manifestations as well as sleep disturbances. Overall, patients with nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux are more likely to develop a more severe form of GERD. The mainstay of treatment of nighttime gastroesophageal reflux is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). However, nighttime heartburn is the most common breakthrough symptom in patients with GERD, who failed PPI treatment. Other important therapies for nighttime GERD include, lifestyle modifications, such as elevating the head of the bed, avoiding eating at least three hours before bedtime, maintaining appropriate sleep hygiene and avoiding the right decubitus position. Elevating the upper torso by raising the head of the bed and avoiding the right-lateral decubitus position have been shown to improve nocturnal symptoms. Several studies have shown that sleeping in the left decubitus position decrease esophageal acid exposure by reducing 13-76% of the reflux episodes. Studies have shown that the right decubitus position increases the rate of transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs) accompanied by acid reflux, as compared with the left recumbent position. Moreover, maintaining the left lateral recumbent position, reduced by 87% esophageal acid exposure and nocturnal symptoms.
LEFT is a novel electronic wearable device that was developed as a sleep position therapy for patients who suffer from nighttime gastroesophageal reflux symptoms. It is simple, noninvasive and low-cost technology which has been developed by Side Sleep Technologies B.V. Singel, Amesterdam, The Netherland.
This technology is designed to train patients to sleep on their left side by a gentle vibration signal once it detects that they are sleeping on their back or right side. Thus, this technique may reduce gastroesophageal reflux and thus provides relief of heartburn and regurgitation during sleep time. The purpose of this study is to determine the usefulness of positional therapy, using the LEFT device, as a nonmedical tool to control GERD-related nocturnal symptoms.