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Posted: 2/2/2015 | Categories: Heartburn Services, FMC News
Whether it’s regurgitation, bloating, a burning sensation in the throat or all of the above, one-third of U.S. citizens who live with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) know the meaning of the word discomfort.
That’s why more than 1,000 people have sought relief from the Fairfield Medical Heartburn Center in just two years. The Heartburn Center, in partnership with Legato Health Systems, is supported by a team of 10 physicians who provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of GERD.
“It is so amazing that we have provided education and testing for more than 1,000 people in our community and surrounding counties,” said Tina Cass, the center’s nurse coordinator who provides free consultations. “GERD is so prevalent in the U.S.; our patient volume reflects that Southeastern Ohio is no different.”
Heartburn is just one of the many symptoms of GERD. The term “gastroesophageal reflux” describes the movement of stomach contents coming back up into the esophagus, which is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. This sensation is referred to as acid reflux or heartburn.
Recently, several patients have found relief in the form of a relatively new surgical procedure at FMC called the LINX®. This minimally invasive procedure involves surgically placing a small band of magnets enclosed in titanium beads around the esophagus. The magnetic attraction between the beads helps keep the weak lower esophageal sphincter closed to prevent acid and bile from flowing back from the stomach into the esophagus.
“There have been approximately 2,000 LINX surgeries worldwide with positive relief of reflux symptoms,” said Jeffrey Yenchar, M.D., who was appointed medical director of the Heartburn Center in August and will perform all of FMC’s future LINX procedures.
The other surgical treatment offered at FMC is the Nissen fundoplication, in which the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower end of the esophagus and stitched into place, reinforcing the closing function of the lower esophageal sphincter. Dr. Yenchar said both procedures have proven to be beneficial for patients who come to the Heartburn Center.
“The Nissen stops you from refluxing but can limit your ability to vomit, so there can be bloating, increased gas and feeling full quickly,” Dr. Yenchar explained. “The LINX controls reflux without using the stomach, so you have fewer side effects, but control of reflux symptoms.”