Improving Reflux While You Sleep

JM Schuitenmaker et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 2753-2762. Open Access! Sleep Positional Therapy for Nocturnal Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Sham-Controlled Trial

Methods: This was a double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled trial in patients (n=100) with nocturnal symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Patients were advised to sleep in the left lateral decubitus position and were assigned randomly (1:1) to an electronic sleep positional therapy wearable device (applied with an adhesive sticker), programmed to either produce a vibration when in the right lateral position (intervention) or only during the first 20 minutes (sham).

Key findings:

  • In the intention-to-treat analysis, the rate of treatment success (defined as a 50% or more reduction in the nocturnal reflux score) was 44% in the intervention group (22 of 50) vs 24% in the sham group (12 of 50) 
  • There was increased time sleeping in the left lateral decubitus position (intervention 60.9% vs sham 38.5%)

My take: In those with nocturnal heartburn, this appears to be a helpful nonpharmacological tool.

Website for the company (side sleep technologies) that makes the device: The Left ” Your body will be conditioned to sleep at least 80% on your left within a week.” (I do not have any financial relationship with this company).

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