Experiencing occasional heartburn and acid reflux is considered normal, however if these symptoms are present twice a week or more, this could be an indication of gastroesophageal reflux disease also known as GERD. Symptoms can range from heartburn or a feeling of acid in your throat known as reflux, gas and bloating, trouble sleeping and a persistent cough. Treatment options for GERD can range from anti-acid medications to anti-reflux surgery.
Dr. Mazin Rasool Aljabiri- HOD, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Interventional Endoscopists and Bowel cancer Screener Accredited (RCP-UK) states we see around 25% to 40% of our patients with reflux not responding to treatment or having recurrent symptoms during the day or night. Recently proton pump inhibitors (PPI), which reduce the acid production in the stomach, were deemed the treatment of choice for these patients with severe reflux or not responding to any other medication, however the effect of the PPIs are not long lasting.
Dr Mazin, adds, “More than 30% of patients experience suboptimal or no response to PPIs and become non-compliant. Research has found these patients have laxity of the valve, called the gastroesophageal valve. A gastroesophageal valve is an anatomical abnormality, which cannot be corrected with medications, and surgical intervention is the only option.”
This has led to the interest in initiating, researching and organising a non-invasive endoscopic therapeutic alternative, which is safe, effective, relieves recurrent reflux, and allows patients to successfully manage their symptoms.
At Mediclinic Parkview Hospital’s gastroenterology department, hepatology, digestive diseases and Weight management Department, A new non-surgical option for treatment of these symptoms is now available. The transoral incisionless fundoplication or TIF, is a non-surgical procedure, minimally invasive treatment that treats GERD at its source. Utilising the EsophyX device, the technology is able to restore the natural protection of our body against reflux.
TIF is a good solution for adults with moderate to severe GERD, who experience heartburn symptoms even while on daily medication. There are many benefits to this procedure, including controlling disruptive symptoms and getting off daily heartburn medication. The TIF procedure is FDA approved and covered by most insurance companies. This innovative procedure is performed in an outpatient setting and takes about one hour; patients tend to recover quicker without the scars associated with surgery. TIF is considered a long-lasting treatment for chronic acid reflux.