Reflux Disease and the new LINX procedure with Dr. Malladi
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is actually commonly thought of as heartburn. The main malfunction is a a malfunction of the valve at the lower esophagus, because food should be able to go into the stomach but bile, acid, and food should not reflux back into the esophagus. And often patients have symptoms from this. One of the typical symptoms is burning pain in the chest that represents the acid refluxing back into the esophagus. Some people have difficulty swallowing where they feel like food is getting stuck in their chest. Some people can have abdominal pain and a lot of times patients have trouble at night – they can’t sleep flat in the bed because the acid goes up into their throat.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease can be treated in a variety of ways. Usually, mild GERD can be treated with lifestyle change – avoiding certain foods, propping yourself up on pillows at night in bed, losing weight. Then when patients really are not relived of their symptoms with that they can move onto medications.
But about 40% of those patients who take medications are not well-controlled with medications, and therefore we have a new treatment called the LINX Reflux Management System that I’m performing here at Forest Park Medical Center that will treat this disease. And it actually will treat the disease at the source of the disease, which is the weakened lower esophageal sphincter.
The LINX procedure is a new FDA-approved procedure and I’m partnering with Forest Park Medical Center to be the only center to perform this procedure in Dallas. It’s a very simple and elegant treatment. And basically, the LINX procedure involves a band of titanium beads that have a magnetic core. And this is basically a necklace of magnets that are placed around the lower esophagus to help augment the weakened lower valve. And what happens with this necklace is that it actually will open when you eat and it breaks those magnetic bonds, but then it closes and doesn’t allow acid or fluid to reflux back into the esophagus.
I’m really excited about the LINX procedure because I think it’s a revolution in the treatment of GERD. I think patients who’ve been suffering from reflux symptoms and decreasing their quality of life and it’s effecting their normal activities, this is going to be a great solution for those patients.