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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease | Jenifer Marks, MD | Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates

– Gastro esophageal reflux disease is very common and affects
about one in five of Americans, many I’m sure, friends and family or people that you may know take proton pump inhibitors, the purple pill. Nexium, Protonix, pop some Tums after a meal if they have heartburn. So that is all a result of gastro esophageal reflux disease, which happens when the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle at
the end of the esophagus, is supposed to close after we swallow and stay closed to prevent gastric acid from coming back
up into our esophagus. That muscle fails over time, and people who have reflux disease and acid going up into the lower esophagus is what generates the heartburn, the regurgitation and the chest pain that some people feel that have reflux. So the medications don’t actually stop people from refluxing, they simply try to control the symptoms by making the reflux material less acidic, and then it doesn’t hurt. But the medications don’t change the disease process, and we know that GERD is a progressive disease, and so it doesn’t every go away once a patient gets it, it
actually just gets worse. There have been several operations and procedures over the years that have been developed as a treatment for reflux disease, the
Nissen fundoplication is sort of the had been, the main option for patients with reflux where you would try to recreate that lower esophageal sphincter by wrapping a portion of the patient’s stomach around that muscle to try to recreate a muscle there so they didn’t reflux. That operation has some side effects, and really, it’s not a small operation. And so in conjunction with surgeons, there’s a team of engineers who developed a new product called the LINX device, which is a magnetic sphincter augmentation device that gets
laparoscopically implanted around the lower esophageal sphincter, and just helps to prevent that muscle from opening so that
patients don’t reflux. It has been available in the United States for just over five years, and the results in terms of the safety and the ethicacy of the product are really unparalleled in the past in terms of comparing it either to other devices that have been available, or to the Nissen fundoplication. There are very few side effects associated with it, the large majority of patients are able to come off of their medications and not have any of the troublesome side effects that we worry about sometimes
with the Nissen fundoplication the older surgery, that
used to be sort of the only option available for these patients. So LINX is really kinda
changing how we treat reflux disease in this country, and I think it’s only going to become more
prevalent as we move forward.

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