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When your chest pain isn't a heart attack

Feb 12, 2019

New technology at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital treats acid reflux disease

TUCSON (Feb. 12, 2019) – Chest pain is serious business. But what if it isn’t a heart attack? When a doctor rules out a heart problem but the pain is still there, it might be acid reflux, otherwise known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). LINX, a new minimally invasive treatment for GERD, is now available at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital.

woman holding heartThe LINX system is a small flexible band of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores. Magnetic attraction between the beads is intended to help the lower esophageal sphincter resist opening to gastric pressures, preventing reflux from the stomach into the esophagus.

“While it may be a relief to know that all chest pain isn’t from a heart attack, the symptoms of GERD or acid reflux are still uncomfortable,” said Dawn Elliott, MD.

“LINX is designed so that swallowing forces temporarily break the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass normally into the stomach. Magnetic attraction of the device is designed to close the LES immediately after swallowing, restoring the body's natural barrier to reflux,” explained Dr. Elliott.

LINX and quarter comparisonAccording to Dr. Elliott, the device is implanted using a minimally invasive surgical technique called laparoscopy. This technique uses small incisions in the abdominal wall to access the area around the esophagus where the device will be placed. Patients are encouraged to return to a normal diet as quickly as can be tolerated.

Because it’s a minimally invasive procedure, patients are generally able to return to nonstrenuous activity within a couple of days. It preserves normal physiological function, the titanium beads open and close to let food down, and if it needs to come up, it can.

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