New surgical fix helps patients with late-stage acid reflux

Dr. Schwartz says that most patients have complete relief and are off medication, while others see a significant decrease in the amount of medication they take. (WTNH Photo)
Dr. Schwartz says that most patients have complete relief and are off medication, while others see a significant decrease in the amount of medication they take. (WTNH Photo)

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Surgical relief for a common chronic progressive disease, acid reflux. It’s a minimally invasive surgical procedure for late stage acid reflux.

Thomas Barrett battled acid reflux for seven years, “It’s a horrifying feeling having it. It just lodges in your throat. It literally gags you to death.”

Medication was no longer working well for him. “They just thought it was a simple little bit of acid refluxing going on.”

Turned out he had a severe case after years of the acid from his stomach moving up into the esophagus.

“The problem here is that this valve is not working anymore because it has been exposed to acid for so long,” said Dr. Ken Schwartz.

Dr.Schwartz is part of a multi-disciplinary team approach to acid reflux disease at MidState Medical Center. He says once that process starts it can be tough to slow down.

“It can progress to precancerous lesions called Barrett’s esophagus,” said Dr. Schwartz. “And then from there it can progress to esophageal cancer.”

Lucky for Thomas, Dr. Schwartz caught it in time with a minimally invasive procedure called fundoplication. It tightens up the weakened valve in the lower esophagus.

“Basically what I did was take the top of the stomach, wrapped it around the back of the esophagus and sewed it to itself,” said Dr. Schwartz.

For patients with a partially functioning valve, there is now a flexible magnetic bracelet designed to prevent the stomach acid from leaking. Now, things are looking good for Thomas.

“His prognosis,” said Dr. Schwartz, “Is he’ll never have to deal with this again,”

“I’m drinking wine. All the stuff I wasn’t able to do I am doing now,” said Thomas.

Dr. Schwartz says that most patients have complete relief and are off medication, while others see a significant decrease in the amount of medication they take.

For more information- call MidState Medical Center at 203-238-2691.

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