ECU News Services
July 5, 2017
By Amy Adams EllisUniversity Communications
Surgeons at the
Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University are offering a new
outpatient procedure to treat acid reflux disease.
with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, a weak muscle in the lower
esophagus, which normally acts as a one-way valve to the stomach, allows
stomach contents to back up into the esophagus. Symptoms of the disease include
heartburn, hoarseness, coughing and wheezing. Uncontrolled acid reflux can lead
to serious complications, including esophageal cancer and chronic irreversible
have traditionally been prescribed a daily medication to reduce the acid level
in the stomach, but these medications can have a wide range of side effects and
long-term complications – from nausea to osteoporosis and even pneumonia.
Patients in the
East have a new option which could be implanted in less than an hour: a LINX® device – a
flexible, quarter-size, titanium ring of magnets – around the outside of the
lower esophagus to preserve normal physiological function. The device expands
temporarily to allow food and liquids to pass through when the patient
swallows, but it prevents stomach acid from flowing back up from the stomach
into the esophagus.
“Pills do not
address the cause of reflux or prevent it; they are merely a Band-Aid for the
symptoms,” said ECU thoracic and foregut surgeon Dr. Carlos Anciano. “Patients
deserve an option to avoid taking medications for the rest of their lives that
have extensive long-term side effects. They deserve to have a choice, with a
procedure that addresses the problem, not masking it but providing a solution.”
Anciano and his
colleague Dr. James Speicher are the only physicians in Vidant Health’s
29-county service area performing the procedure. It’s minimally invasive, takes
less than an hour, and the cost is covered by many health insurance companies. Most
patients resume a normal diet the same day, and 85 percent never require daily
GERD medication again.
year, Genes Norris of Beulaville was one of the first patients to undergo the
procedure at Vidant Medical Center.
dealing with GERD for 40 years and taking medication for it almost that long,”
he said. “I used to wake up at night feeling like I was choking. I had coughing
so bad, I thought I had bronchitis. And it was corrected in a day.”
that there are other surgical treatments for reflux, but unlike the LINX®
procedure, they alter the anatomy of the stomach and often result in recurrence
of reflux and a wide range of side effects.
For more information
about the LINX® procedure, or to make an appointment for an
evaluation, call 252-744-4536.
(Video by Rich Klindworth)