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News - New pioneering procedure for acid reflux at RD&E

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Royal Devon & Exeter becomes first NHS hospital to carry out pioneering procedure for severe acid reflux


The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has become the first NHS hospital in the UK to perform an innovative surgical procedure for sufferers of Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD), a severe and persistent form of acid reflux. Luke Jones


Luke Jones (21) underwent the procedure to have the LINX® Reflux Management System implanted via keyhole surgery on Monday 25th June. He had suffered from GORD for two years and the condition was having serious consequences for his day-to-day life: “It was affecting my sleep pattern and I felt unwell so I was taking time off work.” Luke explained.


The sales assistant from Sidbury, East Devon, was initially prescribed medication known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to try and alleviate the symptoms, however, “None of the medication worked” Luke explained. “As a result I had to avoid certain foods and caffeine because they would set off severe heartburn”. After researching his options he chose the LINX® Reflux Management System.


The LINX® System is a small, flexible band of titanium beads with magnetic cores that is placed around the oesophagus, just above the stomach. It is designed to restore the body’s natural barrier to reflux and eliminate the symptoms associated with GORD. Until now, if GORD symptoms were not relieved by medication, the only other option available was a procedure known as fundoplication. This involves altering the anatomy of the stomach by wrapping part of it around the oesophagus.


If GORD is left untreated, serious complications can occur, such as oesophagitis, swallowing difficulties, Barrett’s oesophagus (a pre-cancerous condition) and oesophageal cancer.1

The LINX® System procedure was performed by Mr Saj Wajed, Consultant Upper Gastro-Intestinal (GI) Surgeon, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, who is a specialist in upper GI laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.


Mr Wajed said: “GORD is not only painful but often disrupts sleep, eating, drinking, relationships and social activities. Studies have indicated that patients with acid reflux experience impaired health-related quality of life similar to or even greater than patients with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.  The beauty of this simple procedure is that it can be completed in less than an hour. It starts working immediately offering patients relief from the symptoms of GORD and a quick return to normal life.”  


Following the procedure, Luke added, “My condition was really starting to spoil my enjoyment of food, so I’m really looking forward to being able to worry less about narrowing down my dietary options. After I eat and drink, I don’t get that uncomfortable heartburn anymore. Importantly my sleep has also improved and I can enjoy a good night’s rest for the first time in several years”.

Mr Wajed added, “We are delighted to be one of the few centres in the UK selected to offer this exciting new procedure and hope to offer it to more of our patients in the region.” 


Most people will experience uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux such as heartburn at some point, especially after a large meal. For people living with GORD however, regurgitation and chest pain are just some of the uncomfortable symptoms they have to deal with on a daily basis. Other aggravating symptoms of GORD include nausea, cough and difficulty swallowing - these symptoms can be severe and persist over time. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 5 people have at least one episode of GORD a week.


The LINX® System has been available privately in the UK since April 2011, with around 25 patients from across the country benefiting from the procedure to date.









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