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Donation Heart Ribbon

First Magnetic Fix For Heartburn

Audio

Aired 4/10/12

A San Diego man is among the first in the nation to get a magnetic implant to control chronic heartburn.

— Chronic heartburn or gastric esophageal reflux disease—commonly called GERD can lead to serious health problems including cancer of the esophagus.

Traditionally GERD has been treated with medication and sometimes surgery.

Now, after five years of clinical trials, there’s a new treatment option called LINX Reflux Management System.

Torax Medical Inc., in Minnesota manufactures the device that was FDA approved in March.

Santiago Horgan, MD., demonstrates how the LINX device closes off esophagus to prevent backward flow of stomach content.
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Above: Santiago Horgan, MD., demonstrates how the LINX device closes off esophagus to prevent backward flow of stomach content.

Santiago Horgan,MD, of UC San Diego Health System implanted the LINX in a 29-year old man with GERD on Monday.

“The LINX is composed of a flexible string of titanium beads, each with a magnetic core. Once implanted, the circular band closes in on itself, squeezing shut the last few centimeters of the esophagus,” explained Horgan.

When the esophagus is closed it prevents the backward flow of acidic stomach contents.

The device is put into place during a 20-30 minute outpatient surgery while the patient is under anesthesia. Patients are able to go home the same day.

One major drawback is patients with the LINX implant are prohibited from getting MRI (or Magnetic Resonance Imaging) tests until the device has been surgically removed.

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