Whether you have heartburn, regurgitation, swallowing difficulties or even symptoms in your throat such as a cough and hoarseness, GERD can make your life miserable. It affects eating habits, work productivity, sleep and just your overall quality of life.
You are not alone. GERD affects millions of people, up to 40% of the population of the United States. Some try to modify their lifestyle, others take antacids or other over-the-counter medications. Many are prescribed powerful medications designed to be taken for life. Yet, many still suffer and crave relief. Are you one of those? We understand and are here to help.
Bhatti Heartburn Center is here for you. Our expert staff understands your suffering and has the capabilities to thoroughly evaluate your condition and deliver an array of heartburn treatment choices that will finally provide the relief you deserve.
Compassionate staff. A well-organized practice. Appointments within a week. With one phone call you can gain access to the most complete reflux care anywhere. You can have one single point of contact supplying access, education, convenience and support. This is usually missing in healthcare today. No more runaround. No more confusion. No more waiting.
When left untreated, the suffering continues, your esophagus can become irreversibly damaged and esophageal cancer can even result.
Bhatti Heartburn Center has the latest state-of-the-art technologies to test the function of the esophagus, measure acid levels and evaluate for precancerous conditions. We can then deliver world class treatment tailored for you, whether it is medications or the latest in minimally invasive surgery. Bhatti Heartburn Center even offers the LINX Reflux Management Device, which is the latest in GERD treatments. Ask us about it!
Gastrophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Smptoms such as heartburn that occur more than twice a week for several weeks could be a sign of GERD. This can lead to more serious conditions over time if left untreated. GERD patients who are overweight, pregnant, smoke, take certain medications, or have a genetic predisposition may be more likely to develop GERD. Anyone may develop GERD for unknown reasons as well.
Complications of GERD
GERD can lead to other conditions, especially if left untreated. Some complications include inflammation in the esophagus, permanent difficulty swallowing, irritation of the throat and lungs, respiratory problems, and possibly cancer.
A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach moves into the chest through a small natural opening in the diaphragm. This can cause frequent regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, and refractory heartburn. On rare occasions it may result in a loss of blood supply to the stomach, if most of the stomach herniates into the chest.
This is a condition where tissue similar to the intestine lining replaces the normal esophageal lining. GERD increases your chances of developing this condition. There are a number of different treatments for Barrett’s Esophagus. If left untreated, this condition may lead to esophageal cancer.
For many cases of GERD, simple changes to daily life are all that is needed to treat the disease. These changes can include daily dosages of over-the-counter or prescription medications. Additionally, your doctor may recommend reducing or eliminating smoking, alcohol consumption, acidic or fatty foods, and carbonated beverages. Weight loss may be another recommendation as well as alteration of eating or sleeping patterns.
Medication Therapy is often the next step if the lifestyle changes are not effective in treating GERD symptoms. Over-the-counter antacides and other medications can neutralize stomach acids and help reduce acid production. Prescription medications may be effective in promoting healing and relieving symptoms but are not indicated for a long-term treatment plan.
This step is usually reserved for thyose whose symptoms are not effectively treated by either lifestyle changes or mediation. Sometimes this may be the first option if there is a physiological defect such as a histal hernia. While the most common surgical option is a fundoplication surgery, at Bhatti Heartburn Center, we offer the state-of-the-art LINX implant as well. Surgical treatment is usually laparoscopic/robotic (small incision) with a rapid recovery to full activity.
Also known as EGD, an Upper Endoscopy is a procedure used to view the esophagus, stomach, and part of the small bowel. This exam looks for signs of reflux, peptic ulcer disease, or tumors. It is one method in a patient’s treatment plan to determine the suitability of surgery. EGD is more accurate than X-rays for identifying inflammation, detecting abnormal growths such as ulcers, tumors, or cancer, and for examining the inside of the upper digestive system.
Barium Upper GI
This is a series of X-ray films that show the digestive tract. A liquid barium solution is swallowed while several X-ray films are taken. This temporarily coats the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and intestine, making the outline of these organs visible on the X-ray film. The X-rays show how the solution is traveling from the mouth to the esophagus and into the stomach. This is performed to visualize the presence of reflux, hiatal hernia or obstruction.
Esophageal pH Monitoring
This procedure is performed to measure the reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus that occurs in GERD (pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution). It is used to evaluate for GERD and to determine how medication is working ot prevent acid reflux. It is also helpful in evaluating typical symptoms that do not respond to medications. Two different types of pH monitoring can be used. Your gastroenterologist will discuss which one is best for you.
This is a test used to identify problems with movement and pressure in the esophagus that may lead to problems like heartburn. It measures the strength and muscle coordination of the esophagus during swallowing. The information obtained from this test can help doctors to identify esophagteal problems. This test will allow doctor to examine the muscular valve connecting the esophagus with the stomach, called the lower esophageal spincter, as a factor in determining suitability for a LINX implant.
Hiatal Hernia Repair and Fundoplication
Surgical repair of a hiatal hernia involves tightening the diaphragm opening and wrapping the upper stomach around the esophagus using stitches in both areas. This prevents acids and food from flowing into the esophagus. An available surgical alternative is fundoplication, where the doctor attaches small clips to the point where the esophagus meets the stomach. This can have the same effect of keeping foods and acids out of the esophagus.
The LINX Implant Procedure is a surgical treatment for heartburn and/or GERD. It is a small device about the size of a quarter made of permanent magnets surrounded by titanium beds. The LINX implant helps to strengthen and reinforce the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. This stops acid from entering the esophagus easily. LINX is implanted through a minimally invasifve laparoscopic/robotic procedure around the esophagus where it connects to the stomach. It is designed to restore your natural reflux. LINX is removable should the need arise for other treatment options. LINX is a treatment intended for patients diagnosed with GERD who continue to have symptoms even while taking medication. There is no alteration of the stomach necessary.