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Northwest Hospital Surgeons Perform First EsophyX Procedure in Washington State
Date:3/17/2009

New incisionless, non-invasive procedure treats patients with chronic reflux disease

SEATTLE, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Northwest Hospital & Medical Center today announced that two surgeons from its medical staff completed the first EsophyX procedure in Washington State on Monday, March 16. EsophyX is a non-invasive, incisionless procedure used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

The two surgeons, Peter Billing, MD, of Puget Sound Surgical Center and Nicole B. White, MD, of Northwest Hospital performed the procedure on a 40-year-old man.

More than 20% of Americans suffer from GERD, also commonly known as acid reflux disease or chronic heartburn. GERD is caused when the valve between the esophagus and the stomach is weak or absent, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus or, in severe cases, into the lungs. In addition to daily pain and discomfort, GERD can damage the esophagus and the lungs, and even lead to cancer over the long term.

Traditionally, surgical treatment for GERD and other reflux conditions would require either open or laparoscopic surgery - along with several incisions -- to repair or rebuild the faulty valve.

The EsophyX procedure is done by inserting a special scope equipped with built-in instruments through the mouth and down through the esophagus. The scope is then used to create a new, fully-functioning valve from existing tissue. EsophyX can be done as an outpatient procedure or with a brief overnight stay.

"This is a truly groundbreaking procedure, because it restores the original anatomy and creates a natural barrier against stomach acid, all without needing to make a single incision," said Dr. White. "Also, non-invasive or minimally-invasive surgical options like EsophyX often mean a shorter, less painful recovery."

"Medication for GERD can alleviate some of the symptoms, but they don't fix the underlying problem or stop the progression of the disease," said Dr. Billing. "The EsophyX procedure will greatly improve quality of life for our patients who suffer from severe heartburn, and will help many of them remain off medications."

According to Dr. Billing, recent studies of EsophyX have shown that the procedure can reduce patients' dependency on heartburn medications, with 80% of patients remaining symptom-free and off medication two years after the surgery.

For more information on EsophyX and GERD, visit www.endogastricsolutions.com. For more information on Northwest Hospital's comprehensive surgical services, including EsophyX, visit www.nwhospital.org.

About Northwest Hospital & Medical Center

Founded in 1960, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center is a full-service, non-profit hospital located minutes north of downtown Seattle. With 281 licensed beds, more than 1,600 employees and all private rooms, it offers some of the most innovative, technologically advanced medical care available. Major clinical programs and services include: emergency services; critical care; cardiac care; neurosciences; stroke center; cancer care; childbirth services; bariatric surgery; sports medicine; medical rehabilitation; geropsychiatric center; Gamma Knife(R) Center; diagnostic imaging; laboratory services; and education and wellness programs, among others. For more information about Northwest Hospital and its programs and services, call (206) 364-0500 or (206) 633-4636 for the Physician Referral Line, or visit www.nwhospital.org.


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SOURCE Northwest Hospital and Medical Center
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