Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have a new option for relief when medications or eliminating certain foods and drinks can’t do the trick.
GERD patients know the symptoms all too well — heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain and trouble sleeping or swallowing. Now, surgeons at Lenox Hill Hospital have a new tool to ease a patient’s discomfort.
A new, incisionless procedure uses a device called EsophyX that allows surgeons to reshape the anti-reflux valve, which prevents stomach acid and contents from flowing up into the esophagus.
GERD occurs when the stomach contents back up, or reflux, into the esophagus, exposing it to gastric acid, bile and enzymes that reside in the stomach. GERD is considered chronic and relevant when symptoms occur twice a week or more.
“When conservative management fails, or when patients wish not to take lifelong drug therapy, the EsophyX procedure can be offered as an alternative,” said Anthony A. Starpoli, MD, Associate Director of Esophageal Endotherapy at Lenox Hill Hospital. “This procedure is performed entirely through the mouth, without the need for external incisions through the skin and strengthens the antireflux mechanism between the stomach and the esophagus that prevents the backwash of the stomach contents.”
Study results released in October 2014 showed that patients who underwent this new incisionless procedure reported an 80 percent improvement in their quality of life and reduction or elimination of heartburn without the need to take proton pump inhibitor medicines for two years.
“These new findings demonstrate the long-term positive outcomes that come from treating the underlying cause of GERD with this innovative, incisionless approach,” said co –investigator Gregory Haber, MD, chief of Gastroenterology at Lenox Hill Hospital. “Because the side-effects of this procedure are minimal and patients were able to remain off medications, patients now have another option that fills the treatment gap between medication therapy and traditional surgery.”
Lenox Hill Hospital has been selected as one of the sites for the STAR Registry that will monitor and record the effectiveness of the EsophyX procedure for controlling GERD. Patients are currently being enrolled in this registry.