Surgery shows promise in treating persistent heartburn | Science News

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Surgery shows promise in treating persistent heartburn

Ring-shaped device around esophagus prevents acid reflux in most patients

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5:00pm, February 20, 2013

A small ring of magnets cinched around the bottom of the esophagus can prevent acid reflux in many people. Eighty-six of 100 patients with persistent reflux who had the device surgically implanted no longer needed heartburn medications one year later, researchers report in the Feb. 21 New England Journal of Medicine.

“This is very encouraging,” says Peter Kahrilas, a gastroenterologist at the Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago who wasn’t part of the research. He says that for reflux disease, the magnet-laden ring is “the most promising device that has been introduced in a long time, if not ever.”

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device for reflux in March 2012, scientists are still monitoring its long-term safety and effectiveness in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Chronic GERD can lead to esophageal scarring and a condition marked by abnormal cell growth call

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