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Ed Yeates ReportingA new way to treat people suffering from what's called "gastric reflux" is apparently showing remarkable results.
Judy Davis from Salt Lake was among the first to try the procedure four months ago. Now, as Ed Yeates reports, the repair is almost complete.
About four months ago, Judy Davis walked into Pioneer Valley Hospital for a quick outpatient implant to repair the faulty valve between her stomach and esophagus. Years of heartburn in the throat had muffled her soprano voice. She was maxed out on acid suppression medications.
Davis: "I was on Nexium. It did nothing. Then he put me on Prilosec...”
But that was then.
Davis: "I could not talk when I had the surgery. Within twenty minutes I was able to talk."
Why an almost immediate recovery? Dr. Martin Radwin ran a scope and catheter down Judy's throat and injected small amounts of a liquid polymer inside what is called the esophageal sphincter.
The polymer expanded and solidified producing a circular implant inside the muscle. It still opens to let food through, but closes now to keep stomach acid where it belongs.
Martin Radwin, M.D., Gastroenterologist, Pioneer Valley Hospital: "We're trying to get people off medications -- younger patients who do not want to stay on medicines their whole lives or just not doing as well as they would like to on medications."
The medical team at Pioneer has since tried the procedure on patients with more serious complications. One man had bleeding ulcers in the esophagus, but didn't want surgery. He had the implant and six weeks later the tissue has almost healed.
Martin Radwin, M.D: "I was just totally shocked that it had been healed about 80 to 90 percent."
You may remember during our first visit in august with Judy she could no longer sing. Well, since the procedure, that's all changed now. Judy's soprano voice is back because the acid is gone. She'll probably need one more implant to complete the repair.
If you are interested in participating in upcoming clinical trials, call Pioneer Valley Hospital at 964-3352.