New procedure may help thousands of heartburn and hiatus hernia sufferers

A new minimally-invasive procedure to alleviate the suffering and embarrassment experienced by thousands of people in the UK with heartburn, hiatus hernia and other acid reflux conditions is currently being trialled at St Mark's Hospital, Harrow, North London.

A new minimally-invasive procedure to alleviate the suffering and embarrassment experienced by thousands of people in the UK with heartburn, hiatus hernia and other acid reflux conditions is currently being trialled at St Mark's Hospital, Harrow, North London.  

The procedure which is performed endoscopically offers patients a potential alterative to long-term anti-acid medication and invasive surgery. The procedure uses the Esophyx device which is passed with a gastroscope through the mouth and into the stomach. 

Heartburn is believed to affect around 40% of the population at some point and is increasing in incidence.  Hiatus hernia affects up to 20% of people. For many people there are no overt symptoms, but for others significant pain may be experienced, along with regurgitation which is unpleasant and embarrassing.  In the long term, people who suffer from acid reflux are at increased risk of developing significant complications.

This new procedure takes just 60 minutes under general anaesthetic and typically patients go home the same or the following day. Side-effects and complications are significantly lower with Esophyx compared to surgery and patients are able to return quickly to work.  

St Mark's Hospital in Harrow is the first hospital to perform the Esophyx procedure in the UK.  The hospital is actively looking for people with moderate to severe acid reflux to take part in its clinical trial. The procedure is suitable for anyone aged between 18 and 75, as long as the trial's inclusion criteria are met.

Consultant gastroenterologist, Dr Chris Fraser, who is leading the trial said "The Esophyx endoscopic anti-reflux procedure is very exciting and potentially offers a real alternative to surgery and dependency on anti-acid pills for patients with reflux." 

Find out more by visiting http://www.wolfsonedoscopy.org.uk/.

St Mark's Hospital has just launched its Mosaic Appeal (http://www.mosaicappeal.org/) which aims to raise over half a million pounds to further the research into and treatment of colorectal conditions.

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