Background: Disorders of gut–brain interaction (DGBI) are associated with high symptom burden and poor quality of life. We evaluated the clinical value of multimodal therapy with psycho-gastroenterological interventions in patients with refractory functional symptoms. Methods: Of 80 DGBI patients managed over a 12-month period, 26 patients undergoing multimodal therapy (median age 60.0 years, 73.1%F) were compared to 54 patients (median age 56.0 years, 68.5%F) managed using conventional approaches. Psycho-gastroenterological multimodal therapy was individualized and included relaxation training (diaphragmatic breathing, passive muscle relaxation) and gut-direct hypnotherapy/guided imagery. All patients completed documentation of symptom frequency and severity using a 100 mm visual analog scale (VAS) and assessment of health-related quality of life (BEST score) before and following therapy. Data were analyzed to determine comparative change in symptom burden between the two cohorts. Key Results: Baseline demographics and symptom burden were similar between the two treatment subgroups. While patients improved with both multimodal and conventional therapies, BEST score demonstrated greater improvement with multimodal therapy (p = 0.03). Physician perception of symptom burden at baseline and on follow-up did not correspond to self-reported questionnaire data. On multivariable analysis, multimodal therapy (OR 7.9, 95% CI 1.8–34.6, p = 0.006) and functional esophageal disorders (OR 17.6, 95% CI 2.6–121.1, p = 0.004) predicted >50% improvement in BEST score, while the presence of psychiatric disease was a negative predictor (OR 0.22, CI 0.05–0.94, p = 0.04). Conclusions & Inferences: Psychological intervention using multimodal therapy provides clinical value to the management of functional esophageal symptoms among patients refractory to conventional therapy.
- functional esophageal disease
- gut-directed hypnotherapy
- health-related quality of life