Heartburn and Reflux

According to the National Institutes of Health, some 15 million Americans experience Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) every day, making it the most common gastrointestinal-related diagnosis made by physicians.

  • GERD or reflux can be caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle which separates your esophagus from your stomach. The LES is a one-way valve that normally opens for limited amounts of time when you swallow.
  • Reflux occurs when digestive juices and stomach contents flow back into the esophagus.
  • The backflow of stomach contents can cause damage to the digestive system and, over time, may lead to Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer.
  • GERD is a progressive disorder that will not resolve or go away on its own over time.

GERD symptoms may include:

  • Heartburn.
  • Difficulty Swallowing.
  • Regurgitation.
  • Chronic Cough.
Care to Move Beyond Heartburn & Reflux
Many Americans diagnosed with GERD are not fully satisfied with their current treatment options of diet and lifestyle changes and increasing doses of over-the-counter or prescription medications. The Texas Health HEB Heartburn & Reflux Program offers a variety of advanced diagnostic services, as well as care and surgical options to help you move beyond your symptoms of GERD to live more comfortably.
  • Diagnostic Tests
    • EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy): A procedure to diagnose and treat problems in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
    • Esophageal Manometry/Esophageal Motility Study: A test used to evaluate the motor function of the esophagus and/or prior to anti-reflux surgery.
    • 24-Hour pH Study: Used to determine the presence of acid reflux using a small, flexible tube inserted through the nose into the esophagus that remains in place for 24 hours for analysis.
    • BRAVO pH Study: A test in which a probe is placed onto the wall of the esophagus during an EGD. The probe monitors the frequency and duration of gastric reflux during a normal day.
  • Minimally Invasive Therapies
    • Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI): Available over the counter or by prescription to help suppress acid production and manage GERD symptoms.
    • Stretta Therapy: An endoscopic (incisionless) procedure used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the muscle between the stomach and esophagus to help improve muscle function and reduce reflux symptoms.
  • Outpatient Surgical Care
    • Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF): A procedure to restore the one-way operation of the LES to help alleviate valve-related GERD symptoms.
    • LINX: A laparoscopic surgical technique in which a magnetic device is implanted at the LES to restores its function.
    • Fundoplication: A laparoscopic procedure in which the LES is reinforced by wrapping a portion of the stomach around it, preventing further reflux with minimal side effects and eliminating the need for ongoing medication.

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Physician Having Discussion with Senior Patient
Navigating Your Care
Texas Health HEB offers a special nurse navigation program to help guide you through the evaluation, testing and possible treatment for reflux disease. Your nurse navigator provides education to help you understand your diagnosis and individualized treatment plan.
Physician with patient
Find a Digestive Health Specialist
If you suffer from heartburn find the Texas Health specialist for you.

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