Memorial Health System offers new approach to treating chronic heartburn
Most people experience symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux occasionally, and over-the-counter antacids may be all they need to get relief. However, for about 1 in 5 Americans, their heartburn is more frequent, severe and disruptive, affecting their eating, sleeping and quality of life. At times, this can be a symptom of a larger problem – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder that also causes regurgitation, difficulty swallowing and coughing fits.1,2
The standard of medical care for GERD patients is treatment with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), prescription drugs that suppress the amount of acid the stomach produces. While effective in reducing symptoms for most people, up to 40 percent fail to respond to even aggressive acid suppression drug therapy.3
Now there’s an alternative at Memorial Health System that has GERD sufferers finding relief in the form of a magnetic band instead of a pill. It’s called the LINX® Reflux Management System, a small flexible band of magnetic beads about the size of a quarter, that a surgeon wraps around a weakened lower esophageal sphincter in a minimally invasive procedure that typically lasts less than an hour.4
“Memorial is pleased to offer this revolutionary treatment to our patients,” said Dr. Derek Ware, Memorial General Surgeon. “LINX allows us to expand the multimodal approach to GERD, providing full evaluation and offering minimally invasive surgical options. By decreasing disease progress, we can improve patient outcomes for a condition that impacts many in our community.”
Rather than stop the production of acid, the magnetic device prevents acid from rising up from the stomach by opening and closing before and after a patient swallows food, just as a healthy lower esophageal sphincter would.
“LINX provides patients an alternative to other surgical procedures and provides another option to patients who prefer not to take medicine long term,” said Memorial Health System General Surgeon Dr. Scott Blackburn.
Studies show treatment with the LINX System is not only effective but long-lasting. Five years after the procedure, 88 percent of patients reported that their bothersome heartburn was completely gone,5 85 percent were free from dependence on daily reflux medication,6 and 99 percent eliminated regurgitation as a symptom.7
Without treatment, GERD may lead to serious complications over time including esophagitis, respiratory problems, Barrett’s esophagus and in rare instances, esophageal cancer. LINX is not intended to treat, cure, prevent, or mitigate these diseases.
A referral for this procedure is needed from a provider. To learn more, call Memorial General Surgery (228-575-1200).