Healthy Living: Getting Rid of GERD

From babies to grown-ups… it's a digestive problem that can hit anyone. For 25 million Americans, GERD is a painful issue they deal with every day. Now doctors are offering patients relief, with a medical sewing machine of sorts. Robyn Haines has more in Healthy Living.


Alexa Hollander has a sweet gig working at her favorite yogurt shop. While she loved her job, she didn't love the sudden pain she started feeling two years ago every time she ate. Alexa was diagnosed with GERD – a chronic digestive disease that happens when stomach acid flows back into the food pipe causing inflammation. For two years she tried different types of medication, and nothing worked.


So Doctor Miguel Burch at Cedars Sinai Medical Center performed a new surgery, to help Alexa keep her food down. Without incisions, Doctor Burch gathered part of Alexa's upper stomach, pinched it and sewed it around the lower end of the esophagus, creating a one way valve that allows food to pass through the esophagus and into the stomach — but it doesn't allow the acids to come back up.


In a three year clinical trial, 80-percent of patients were off their daily anti-acid medication after the procedure and were able to eat more types of food. Because there are no incisions in this procedure, there's minimal scarring and patients should be able to return to normal activities within days. Doctor Burch says patients might experience a sore throat after the surgery but it should go away in just a few days.