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Technology Zaps Away Acid Reflux Without Surgery
Stony Brook Medicine offers an alternative therapy to treat patients with acid reflux
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Stretta therapy delivers low power, low temperature radiofrequency energy to remodel the valve known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) at the junction of the esophagus and the stomach. Stretta reduces or eliminates regurgitation of stomach contents by improving muscle tone and reducing random openings of the LES that are known to cause GERD. Stretta treatment results in elimination or significant reductions of GERD symptoms and medication use, and significant improvement in patient quality of life. (PRNewsFoto/Mederi Therapeutics Inc.)

STONY BROOK, NY, MAY 5, 2014 -- Over 30 million Americans suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) on a daily basis; experiencing symptoms like burning in the chest or throat, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of food and a sour taste in the mouth. While many patients manage their condition by changing their diet and popping over-the-counter and prescription medications, a new technology may help relieve the burn for good.

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Juan Carlos Bucobo, MD, Director of Endoscopy at Stony Brook University Hospital.

"This is a truly innovative technique to relieve GERD, especially in those patients who have not tolerated acid reducing medications in the past or are just sick of taking medications,” said Juan Carlos Bucobo, MD, Director of Endoscopy at Stony Brook University Hospital. “It offers patients an option to manage their symptoms without surgery and without eliminating the possibility for surgery if they were to need it in the future.”

Doctors at Stony Brook Medicine can now suggest a new alternative therapy called Stretta. This minimally-invasive treatment involves the delivery of radiofrequency energy to the lower esophagus and upper stomach.

"This exciting procedure is an outpatient, endoscopic based treatment for acid reflux, without the need for surgery or long-term medications.” said Dr. Bucobo. “It works by directing low power energy and temperature to reinforce the body's natural barrier against gastric acid from exiting the stomach and entering the esophagus" said Dr. Bucobo.

During the procedure, Dr. Bucobo and his team place a catheter through the patient’s mouth and into the area of the valve (lower esophageal sphincter) between the stomach and the esophagus. The technology delivers radiofrequency energy to the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter, remodeling the tissue, improving muscle tone and reducing random openings of the lower esophageal sphincter that are known to cause GERD.

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A recent study published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice examined the long-term efficacy of the Stretta procedure in GERD patients and found that it may be a more desirable treatment than either medication or surgery.

“This translates into less heartburn and an overall improved quality of life. Patients are able to resume life without the need for anti-reflux medications and without the debilitating symptoms of reflux," said Dr. Bucobo.

About Stony Brook University Hospital:

Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) is Long Island’s premier academic medical center. With 603 beds, SBUH serves as the region’s only tertiary care center and Level 1 Trauma Center, and is home to the Stony Brook Heart Institute, Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital, Stony Brook Neurosciences Institute, and Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute. SBUH also encompasses Suffolk County’s only Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center, state-designated AIDS Center, state-designated Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, state-designated Burn Center, the Christopher Pendergast ALS Center of Excellence, and Kidney Transplant Center. It is home of the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. To learn more, visit www.stonybrookmedicine.edu.