Gut Reaction #15: The LINX procedure for Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)
Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease, or GORD, is a chronic relapsing condition whereby stomach acid refluxes back into the lower part of the gullet, or oesophagus, due to a weak muscle or sphincter where the top part of the stomach joins the bottom end of the oesophagus. The most common symptom is “heartburn”. Treatment options for GORD vary widely depending on the frequency and severity of the symptoms.
There are currently 3 main treatment options:
· Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, smoking cessation, decreasing alcohol intake and dietary modifications. While these steps help to reduce the symptoms associated with infrequent reflux, patients with more frequent or severe symptoms may find that lifestyle changes alone may not be enough.
· Medical therapy with drugs that either lower stomach acid production (such as H2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors) or “coat” the refluxate (such as Alginates). While these treatments often help to control symptoms, they will not prevent reflux and may require taking drugs daily for many years.
· Surgical treatment to repair or augment the lower oesophageal sphincter such as Nissen fundoplication or the new LINX procedure. These procedures will prevent reflux from occurring and thereby help symptoms. Fundoplication involves “wrapping” the top part of the stomach around the bottom of the oesophagus to improve the sphincter pressure; the LINX procedure raises the pressure by placing a flexible band of magnetic beads on the outside of the lowest part of the oesophagus without disturbing the stomach. Both these surgical procedures are performed using keyhole surgery, by experienced surgeons and often as day-cases. As with all surgical procedures there are potential risks and complications.
For more information about the management of GORD, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Harris.