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Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center Solves Costa Mesa Math Teacher’s GERD Problem Thanks to New LINX® Device

Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center Solves Costa Mesa Math Teacher’s GERD Problem Thanks to New LINX® Device

Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center Becomes One of Orange County’s First Hospitals to Implant FDA-Approved LINX® Device

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA – Costa Mesa resident and Crean Lutheran High School math teacher Matthew Bowman, 28, could not figure out why his voice remained so hoarse. It was not until he made an appointment with Atif Iqbal, M.D., medical director of the MemorialCare Digestive Care Center at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, that he discovered he was one of more than 30 million Americans suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). With his condition causing damage to his vocal chords, Dr. Iqbal offered him a new surgical solution – LINX®.

GERD can affect people at any age and the risk for developing it increases after the age of 40. GERD is caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that does not adequately prevent stomach acid from escaping the stomach and flowing back into the esophagus. Additionally, GERD can be related to a hiatal hernia, which can allow stomach acid or undigested food to wash back into the esophagus after a meal. Its most common symptoms include heartburn episodes twice or more per week, difficulty swallowing and a chronic, non-productive dry cough.

After trying several prescribed medications, Bowman decided to turn to the FDA-approved LINX® device for relief. The device, which resembles a small bracelet, is composed of tiny magnetic titanium beads. During a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, the implant is placed at the base of the esophagus, just above the stomach, and acts as a support for a weak malfunctioning LES to prevent stomach acid from washing into the esophagus. When medication does not work, the new LINX® surgery can be extremely effective in treating GERD. In a five-year clinical study, 100 percent of patients eliminated severe regurgitation, 99 percent eliminated daily sleep disruption from heartburn, 92 percent were able to stop taking daily  GERD medication and 91 percent saw significant improvement in their symptoms.

Following his surgery on April 23, 2014, Bowman felt immediate relief. He was released from the hospital the next day and his voice continues to improve. “I recommend this device to everyone who has GERD and is a candidate for it,” says Bowman, who is also the defensive coordinator for Crean Lutheran High School’s football team. “I can’t say enough about the care I received from Dr. Iqbal and his team. The experience was everything I could have hoped for and more.”

The LINX® offers several benefits for patients including:

-        Reduction in acid exposure to your esophagus

-        Improvement in heartburn and regurgitation symptoms

-        Reduction or elimination of GERD medications

-        Less invasive surgery compared to the standard surgical treatment for GERD

-        Ability to resume a normal diet following surgery

-        Discharge the same day or the next day after surgery

-        Minimal side effects, such as being unable to belch or vomit

“We are excited to offer the LINX® procedure because it is a viable treatment option for patients like Matthew who continue to experience daily episodes of GERD despite taking over the counter (OTC) or prescribed medication,” added Dr. Iqbal. “By understanding the common causes and symptoms associated with this disease, the more proactive we can be in treating and potentially preventing it from occurring.”

For more information about GERD as well as diagnosis and treatment options, please call 714-378-7664 or visit www.memorialcare.org/ocdigestivecare.    

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