Easier Acid Reflux Surgery

April 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fifty-four-year old Ron Caligure has always been active, despite the fact that for 20 years, this middle school gym teacher has suffered from acid reflux."It got to the point I'd cough and throw the food up," Caligure says.

Ron's symptoms went from bad to worse. He started getting dizzy, even passed out. Then he decided he needed more than antacids.

Ron is one of 14-million Americans who suffer from acid reflux disease. That's when the barrier between the esophagus and stomach stops working and stomach acid pours back up into the esophagus, inflaming it.

The FDA has just approved a new surgery for acid reflux. Patients don't even have to go under the knife! Instead, surgeons use a device called the EsophyX, snaking it down the patient's throat.

"We see it as surgery, except that it is surgery performed from within so everything is placed through the mouth down into the esophagus," says Blair Jobe, M.D., an associate professor of surgery at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

The surgeon recreates the barrier between the esophagus and the stomach. A camera, attached to the EsophyX, lets the surgeon see what he's doing.

"And it comes out on the very end here and hooks looks back on itself like a candy cane," Dr. Jobe says.

Caligure was the first patient in the United States to have this surgery. After a few weeks of R and R, he's back coaching and feeling great.

This new surgery won't replace traditional surgery, but doctors say it should be able to treat more people who suffer from acid reflux.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Tamara Hargens
OHSU Media Relations
(503) 494-8231
hargenst@ohsu.edu


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