NHS patients in the North east with serious digestive problems are some of the first to benefit from a successful new endoscopic procedure.
Consultant Mr YKS Viswanath, who specialises in upper GI and endoscopic / laparoscopic surgery, carried out the minimally-invasive endoscopic outpatient procedure for the first time in the UK in NHS at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough in February 2015.
Known as Stretta® therapy – endoscopic radio-frequency application – it offers an alternative to surgery for patients who suffer from chronic gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) where acid from the stomach leaks out of the stomach and up into gullet causing symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux and difficulty swallowing.
A special catheter is used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the muscle tissues in the lower part of the gullet (area of gastro-oesophaegeal junction). This strengthens the muscle tissue (lower oesophageal sphincter area) to prevent the reflux occurring.
The minimally invasive outpatient procedure takes less than an hour and does not require any incisions / cuts, stitches or implants so patients can return to normal activities the following day.
One patient who has benefitted from the new procedure and found significant relief is Margaret Wyke, 60, from Middlesbrough.
Margaret has been battling severe acid reflux – a very common symptom of burning pain felt internally around the lower chest area, caused by stomach acid flowing back up into the food pipe – for over 10 years. She had the procedure in July this year.
She has been relying on medication to keep the worst of the symptoms at bay and says it has dramatically changed her life. “The symptoms were having a significant impact on my day to day life health wise and I was constantly being sick/regurgitating and had a cough. Bending over made me ill, my sleep was affected and I could not enjoy eating due to the sickness and having to avoid certain foods and drinks which make reflux worse.
“Having the procedure was the best decision I have made. My quality of life has improved overall and it has really changed my life. Things changed for the better for me in a couple of weeks. The acid reflux has significantly improved, as has my voice. I can now eat foods I couldn’t before and enjoy a meal out and socialise with my family and friends.
“I am grateful to Mr Viswanath YKS – who carried out the procedure – for his help and advice on managing my symptoms. I would definitely recommend Stretta to anyone who has suffered the way I have. I am so glad I did it and that other patients will benefit in future.”
Mr Viswanath, said: “I am very enthusiastic about bringing this advanced outpatient endoscopic treatment to James Cook. We have carried out around 20 procedures so for and we plan to increase the number of treatments we provide so more patients can benefit from this best in class cutting edge technology.
“I am delighted we can now offer this service to NHS patients in the UK as it’s a condition that affects a large number of the patients we see. It’s fantastic for our patients because they recover much faster and the therapy can offer significant symptom relief for up to 10 years with better quality of life.”