Non-invasive acid reflux treatment offered at St. Elizabeth

Brandie Richardson @B_lifestyles

St. Elizabeth Hospital is offering a unique outpatient procedure that aids in the treatment of acid reflux. The procedure makes St. Elizabeth the only hospital with a gastroenterologistin the area to offer such services.

The non-surgical procedure is minimally invasive, offering patients an alternative to acid reflux other than medication and surgery. The 30-minute procedure is done in an outpatient setting where heat therapy is used to treat the muscle between the lower esophagus and the stomach.

"After one treatment with the STRETTA procedure, over three to six months that muscles gets stimulated to grow thicker and stronger and then it strengthens the valve between the esophagus and stomach to keep all the food contents and acid in the stomach instead of refluxing back into the esophagus," said St. Elizabeth gastroenterologist Elizabeth Bollinger.

Bollinger said many patients have expressed concerns regarding Proton Pump Inhibitors, such as Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid. A recent study showed possible links associated with the anti-acid medicines that include kidney damage and chronic kidney disease, heart disease, dementia, pneumonia, osteoporosis, small bowel injury and a higher risk of developing clostridium difficile, a digestive system infection that can be life threatening.

"The fact that there is a potential correlation to all of these negative effects with long term PPI use, I think, is making people want to get off of those medicines and evaluate if there is something else available for them," Bollinger said. "That's where STRETTA is a good opportunity for the patient to get off their acid medicines, but not suffer from reflux."

Bollinger noted that STRETTA is, in often times, the last treatment option for patients. The procedure has been proven to be effective in patients that have had already had prior reflux surgeries that may have not been successful or patients who do not want to repeat a surgery again.

Side effects for STRETTA are low, as there is a less than one percent complication risk for the procedure. Results are proven to be effective from four to ten years.

There are many things that trigger acid reflux. The most common includes alcohol consumption, spicy foods, eating large meals then laying down immediately and smoking, to name a few. Another way to help with acid reflux is to implement lifestyles changes into your daily routine such as dieting, avoid eating late at night and avoid eating large meals, instead smaller meals periodically throughout the day.

Bollinger introduced the unique procedure to St. Elizabeth Hospital in September 2015, where she has performed over 30 procedures since. She is the only gastroenterologist between New Orleans and Lafayette that performs STRETTA.

For more information about STRETTA, contact Dr. Bollinger at (225) 743-2545.