Ending Acid Reflux

October 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Chronic, severe heartburn isn't just annoying. If left untreated, it can lead to esophageal cancer. But now patients can get relief with a new procedure that fixes the problem ? with no incisions!A chair used to be more than just where Charles Henderly would sit and read. For months, it was the only place he could sleep.

"I'd try to go to bed and a half hour after I'd lay my head down and close my eyes, I would almost have like a regurgitation in my mouth so I'd come downstairs and get in the recliner," Henderly told Ivanhoe.

For 30 years, severe heartburn had Henderly eating a bland diet and popping antacids continuously.

"I was taking probably Maalox three times a day and I was probably taking Tums almost like candy," Henderly said.

"Some people can't continue to take the medication," Scott Melvin, M.D., a gastrointestinal surgeon at The Ohio State University in Columbus, told Ivanhoe. "Either they can't afford it, they have side effects or they just don't want to be on a pill every day. Other patients don't have good relief with symptoms with the medication alone. Those are really the two groups of patients that do quite well with the procedure."

It's a new incision-less procedure using this device called EsophyX.

A tube goes through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach. Surgeons then rebuild the valve at bottom of the esophagus where it enters the stomach, stopping acid reflux immediately.

"Most patients do quite well and are able to get off medication," Dr. Melvin said.

Two months after the procedure, Henderly is down to just one pill a day. He can eat whatever spicy foods he wants ? and that sleep problem?

"I sleep in bed. I sleep all night," Henderly said.

Patients can go home the day after the procedure and it is covered by some insurance companies. EsophyX was just released in the United States in October of 2007, so doctors don't yet have data on the long-term results of the procedure.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
The Ohio State University
Patient Information Line
(800) 293-5123


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