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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    University Hospital Develops New Technique for Heartburn Relief

    A new technique known as the Stretta procedure is being usedby doctors from Stony Brook University Hospital to treat heartburn patients.

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects one infourteen adults. Bile, stomach acid, and enzymes work their way backwards fromthe stomach into the esophagus. This causes the esophagus to become inflamed,or even ulcerated, which can lead to life-threatening diseases such as cancer.

    The Stretta procedure is designed to relieve the pain. According to Arif Ahmad, M.D., Director ofthe hospital’s Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery and AssistantProfessor of Surgery at SBU’s School of Medicine, the Stretta procedure isminimally invasive, surgical-free, medication-free approach to treating theproblem.

    ‘?No hospital stay is required. The procedure takesabout an hour under conscious sedation or general anesthesia,’ Ahmadsaid. ‘?Since there is no cutting or sewing, incisions or scars, patientscan return to normal activities the next day. A major benefit of the techniqueis that most patients are able to discontinue or greatly reduce theirmedications within a month.’

    Ahmad said the success rate in a multi-center national trialwas over 70 percent.

    ‘?Both patients were treated in less than an hour inoutpatient procedures.

    Through a tube in the mouth and throat, a catheter islowered to the valve between the stomach and esophagus. Carefully controlledradiofrequency energy is given to the sphincter muscle and the uppermost partof the stomach to create thermal lesions.’

    The sphincter muscle’s barrier function is enhanced and fortified as the lesions heal. ‘?Thisreduces the reflux and heartburn because the stomach contents remain in thestomach where they belong,’ Ahmad added.

    One patient expressed feeling heartburn relief only fivedays after the Stretta procedure. ‘?It was hard to breathe from the refluxand sometimes I felt like I was dying. For the first time in several years Idid not take medicine at night and I had no symptoms,’ said JamnaPersaud. ‘?I am hopeful of feeling better, having a better life with nomedications.’

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