Up until last year, treatment for chronic acid reflux involved acid-suppressing drugs, but a new device fitted around a patient’s esophagus is showing promising results to provide relief. A recent study through the Mayo Clinic shows that nearly all patients outfitted with the esophagus ring had lesser symptoms and many were able to stop taking their medicines. The device is made up of tiny magnetic titanium beads and works as replacement valve to stop acid leaking from the stomach up to the esophagus.
According to the American Gastroenterological Association, around 1 in 3 people in the United States have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux. The most common treatment is to diagnose acid-supporessing drugs and for more serious cases, surgery may be necessary to try and fix a patient’s esophageal valve, which allows the acid to move out of the stomach and into the esophagus. Too much acid can damage the esophagus and lead to pre-cancerous conditions.
The latest treatment is to surgically install a ring-like device around the esophagus at the connection to the stomach to close the valve and prevent acid from leaking. The device is made up of tiny magnetic titanium beads, which have a small magnetic force. The force is strong enough for the beads to stay together, thus closing off the valve, but weak enough that when food or liquid moves down the esophagus, the beads will spread allowing matter to pass down and through into the stomach.
In 2012, the FDA approved use of the device and procedures began to take place. The Mayo Clinic has recently completed a study on the effectiveness of the device. Results showed that 92 percent experienced lesser symptoms and 87 percent were able to stop taking their medication. The surgery to install the device is minimally invasive and takes just a couple of hours.