Detroit’s St. John Hospital Offers New Treatment for Acid Reflux

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Detroit’s St. John Hospital is the first in southeastern Michigan to offer a new alternative treatment for patients with acid reflux disease, which can result in heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat, and coughing.

“This newest procedure for managing reflux is for select patients who are looking for a minimally invasive procedure that lets them go on a regular diet immediately after the procedure,” says Dr. Abdelkader Hawasli, a surgeon at St. John Hospital.

The FDA-approved device, known as the LINX System, prevents reflux — can cause daily pain, lead to poor sleep, affect food tolerance, and limit daily activities — by closing a weak esophageal sphincter with a small, flexible band of magnets.

The minimally invasive procedure typically takes less than one hour and has shown positive results in a five-year study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Of the 100 patients surveyed, all achieved significant symptom improvement, 94 percent were satisfied with their overall condition, and 92 percent were able to stop using daily medication.

After they have the procedure, patients stay in the hospital for one day, to ensure that they are eating well. After approximately three weeks, patients may have a bit of discomfort swallowing as the esophagus scars and begins to heal and tighten up the valve, Hawasli says.

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