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New device treats reflux

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August 11, 2004
by Diana Gonzalez

Heartburn is a serious problem for more than 60 million Americans.

There are a number of heartburn medications on the market but after a while they weren't relieving Trishia Meadows' pain. "I ended up having to go to another step. I needed something else to help."

That next step was Enteryx, a permanently implantable device FDA approved last year for the treatment of reflux or GERD. "The procedure is basically an injection of a material polymer that's injected into the lower part of the esophagus," said Barry Migicovsky, MD, internal medicine.

In patients with reflux, that muscle at the base of the esophagus is weak. When Enteryx is injected, it forms a spongy layer inside that muscle. "That adds some stiffness to the lower part of the esophagus and prevents the gastric content from refluxing back up into the esophagus," said the doctor.

According to the FDA, in a 12-month study of 85 patients, 67 percent were able to discontinue all medications. However, there are some side effects for patients. "Yes, there's this foul odor that does emit from them, and that's just purely due to the solvent which takes about two days to dissipate through the body," said Migicovsky.

"The only major side effect was the chest pain which lasted a couple of days," Meadows said.

But for Trishia the end result was well worth it. "I can eat what i want. I can go to sleep peacefully and not have to worry about sitting up while I sleep, and it's been wonderful. It changed my life."

Experts say only patients diagnosed with persistent GERD are candidates for the Enteryx procedure .

posted at 1:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com