Professional background

Dr Sarmed Sami a consultant gastroenterologist at University College London Hospitals NHS Trust (UCH) and honorary associate professor at University College London (UCL). He has specific expertise in oesophageal disorders including acid reflux symptoms, heartburn, GORD (or GERD), Barrett's oesophagus, eosinophilic oesophagitis, achalasia and a wide range of other gastroesophageal and gastrointestinal disorders.

Dr Sami is based at the UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences, as a faculty of medical sciences. Prior to that, he trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at centres of excellence both in the UK (Nottingham) and the USA at Mayo Clinic Rochester.  During his training, he completed a prestigious National Endoscopy Research fellowship at the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre leading to the award of a PhD on the evaluation of minimally invasive screening tools for oesophageal varices and Barrett's oesophagus.

Since receiving his postgraduate certificate in medical education (PGCME) degree, he took on many teaching roles both in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching capacities as well as serving as a permanent and invited faculty member and speaker on several national and international courses and workshops.

At a clinical care and service delivery level, Dr Sami is a comprehensively trained gastroenterologist in all medical aspects of both upper GI (as detailed above) and other bowel diseases such as bowel cancer screening, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis), and minimally invasive testing for the digestive tract. He previously co-led the setup and pilot services delivery of a one-stop transnasal endoscopy clinic. This has since been commissioned into a full service for all patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and other stomach and throat symptoms.

Dr Sami is proud to be the recipient of several awards including the Cook Medical Marsha Dreyer award from the American Society for GI Endoscopy (ASGE); the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) out of programme award; and more recently, the fellows-in-training award from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG). He is also the lead author and co-author of over 40 high impact peer-reviewed publications and research abstracts in the field of Gastroenterology including the current UK guidelines on oesophageal dilatation.

Research interests

Heartburn and acid reflux:

  • Causes (such as hiatal hernia, hypotensive lower esophageal sphincter)
  • Consequences (such as Barrett's oesophagus and esophageal strictures)
  • Treatments (such as lifestyle changes, proton pump inhibitors, and hiatus hernia- directed therapies)
  • Patient education about health including topics such as: oesophageal reflux disease and heartburn mechanisms, stomach acid production, how reflux occurs, and digestive and bowel health.

Barrett’s Oesophagus endoscopic therapy such as: endoscopic resection (ER) and ablation (RFA, APC, Cryotherapy) for early neoplasia and cancer.

Novel minimally invasive screening tools for Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer.

Eosinophilic oesophagitis.

Oesophageal strictures management (narrowing of the oesophagus).

Transnasal endoscopy and minimally invasive imaging and monitoring in the upper GI tract.

Advanced endoscopic imaging techniques.

Functional heartburn and indigestion.

Upper GI motility disorders such as achalasia, oesophago-gastric outlet obstruction, oesophageal spasm, gastroparesis, and non-cardiac chest pain.

Assessment of extra-oesophageal (atypical) reflux symptoms such as globus, throat irritation, throat clearing, and cough.

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).

Oro-pharyngeal symptoms of difficulty swallowing, choking, crico-pharyngeal spasm, and Zenker’s diverticulum.

Publications

Original articles

Sanagapalli S, Roman S, Hastier A, Leong R, Patel K, Raeburn A, Banks M, Haidry R, Lovat L, Graham D, Sami SS, Sweis R. Achalasia diagnosed despite normal integrated relaxation pressure responds favorably to therapy. Neurogastroenterol Motil. Accepted March 2019.

Sami SS, Iyer PG, Pophali P, Halland M, di Pietro M, Ortiz-Fernandez-Sordo J, White JR, Johnson M, Guha IN, Fitzgerald RC, Ragunath K. Acceptability, Accuracy and Safety of Disposable Transnasal Capsule Endoscopy for Barrett's Esophagus Screening. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Mar; 17(4):638-646

Sami SS, Ravindran A, Kahn A, Snyder D, Santiago J, Ortiz-Fernandez-Sordo J, Tan WK, Dierkhising RA, Crook JE, Heckman MG, Johnson ML, Lansing R, Ragunath K, di Pietro M, Wolfsen H, Ramirez F, Fleischer D, Wang KK, Leggett CL, Katzka DA, Iyer PG. Timeline and location of recurrence following successful ablation in Barrett's oesophagus: an international multicentre study. Gut. 2019 Jan 11 [Epub ahead of print].

White JR, Sami SS, Reddiar D, Mannath J, Ortiz-Fernández-Sordo J, Beg S, Scott R, Thiagarajan P, Ahmad S, Parra-Blanco A, Kasi M, Telakis E, Sultan AA, Davis J, Figgins A, Kaye P, Robinson K, Atherton JC, Ragunath K. Narrow band imaging and serology in the assessment of premalignant gastric pathology. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2018 Dec; 53(12):1611-1618.

Sami SS, Harman DG, Ragunath K, Böhning D, Parkes J, Guha IN. Non-invasive Tests for the Detection of Oesophageal Varices in Compensated Cirrhosis: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. United European Gastroenterol J. 2018 Jul; 6(6):806-818.

Ortiz-Fernandez-Sordo J, Sami S, Mansilla-Vivar R, Subramanian V, Mannath J, Telakis E, Ragunath K. Evaluation of a novel infra-red endoscopy system in the assessment of early neoplasia in Barretts esophagus: pilot study from a single center. Dis Esophagus. 2018 Apr 1; 31(4).

Sami SS, Ragunath K, Wilkes EA, James M, Mansilla-Vivar R, Ortiz-Fernández-Sordo' J, White J, Khanna A, Coletta M, Samuel S, Aithal GP, Guha IN. The detection of oesophageal varices using a novel, disposable, probe-based transnasal endoscope. A prospective diagnostic pilot study. Liver International. 2016 Nov;36(11):1639-1648.

Coletta M*, Sami SS*, Nachiappan A, Fraquelli M, Casazza G, Ragunath K. Acetic acid chromoendoscopy for the diagnosis of early neoplasia and specialized intestinal metaplasia in Barrett’s esophagus: a meta-analysis. Gastrointest Endosc. 2016 Jan; 83(1):57-67. *Joint first authors

Ortiz-Fernández-Sordo J, Sami S, Mansilla-Vivar R, De Caestecker J, Cole A, Ragunath K. Incidence of metachronous visible lesions in patients referred for radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy for early Barrett's neoplasia: a single-centre experience. Frontline Gastroenterology. 2016 Jan; 7(1):24-29.

Sami SS, Subramanian V, Ortiz-Fernández-Sordo J, Saeed A, Singh S, Guha IN, Iyer PG, Ragunath K. Performance characteristics of unsedated ultrathin video endoscopy in the assessment of the upper GI tract: systematic review and meta-analysis. Gastrointest Endosc. 2015 Nov; 82(5):782-92.

Sami SS, Subramanian V, Butt WM, Bejkar G, Coleman J, Mannath J, Ragunath K. High definition versus standard definition white light endoscopy for detecting dysplasia in patients with Barrett's esophagus. Dis Esophagus. 2015 Nov 12; 28(8):742-9.

Sami SS, Dunagan KT, Johnson ML, Schleck CD, Shah ND, Zinsmeister AR, Wongkeesong LM, Wang KK, Katzka DA, Ragunath K, Iyer PG. A randomized comparative effectiveness trial of novel endoscopic techniques and approaches for Barrett's esophagus screening in the community. Am J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jan; 110(1):148-58.

Ross-Innes CS, Debiram-Beecham I, O'Donovan M, Walker E, Varghese S, Lao-Sirieix P, Lovat L, Griffin M, Ragunath K, Haidry R, Sami SS, Kaye P, Novelli M, Disep B, Ostler R, Aigret B, North BV, Bhandari P, Haycock A, Morris D, Attwood S, Dhar A, Rees C, Rutter MD, Sasieni PD, Fitzgerald RC; BEST2 Study Group. Evaluation of a minimally invasive cell sampling device coupled with assessment of trefoil factor 3 expression for diagnosing Barrett's esophagus: a multi-center case-control study. PLoS Medicine. 2015 Jan; 12(1):e1001780.

Reviews, editorials, letters and case reports:

Sami SS, Iyer PG. Recent advances in screening for Barrett’s esophagus. Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol. 2018 Mar;16(1):1-14.

Sami SS, Ragunath K, Iyer PG. Response to Syed et al. Am J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jun; 110(6):937-8.Sami SS, Ragunath K, Iyer PG. Screening for Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma: rationale, recent progress, challenges and future directions. Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015; 13(4):623-34.

Sami SS, Ragunath K. Editorial: Unsedated transnasal endoscopy. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Sep; 40(6):731-2.Sami SS, Kaye P, Ragunath K. Endoscopic tri-modal imaging with optical magnification in the detection of Barrett's early neoplasia. Video Journal and Encyclopedia of GI Endoscopy. 2014; 1(3-4): 651–653.

Sami SS, Al-Araji SA, Ragunath K. Review article: gastrointestinal angiodysplasia - pathogenesis, diagnosis and management. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014; 39(1):15-34.Sami SS, Ragunath K. The Los Angeles classification of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Video Journal and Encyclopedia of GI Endoscopy. 2013; 1(1):103-4.

Alam MA, Sami S, Babu S. Successful treatment of bleeding gastro-intestinal angiodysplasia in hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia with thalidomide. BMJ Case Reports. 2011 Nov 8.Sami SS, Penston J, Tan HL, Barlow I. Unusually high ferritin in a patient with obstructive jaundice. Ann Clin Biochem. 2011; 48: 272-5.

Text book chapters

Sami SS, Ragunath K. Chapter title: Screening and Surveillance. Book title: Esophageal Cancer and Barrett’s Esophagus. 2015, edited by Prateek Sharma. Wiley-Blackwell, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Guidelines

Sami SS, Haboubi H, Ang Y, Boger P, Bhandari P, Brockhurst M, DeCaestecker J, Griffiths H, Haidry R, Laasch H-U, McCord M, Patel P, Paterson S, Ragunath K, Watson P, Siersema PD, Attwood SE. UK guidelines on oesophageal dilatation in clinical practice. Gut. 2018 Jun; 67(6):1000-1023.