Medical first for North-East patients suffering chronic acid reflux

PATIENTS in the North-East suffering chronic acid reflux are benefitting from a medical procedure being used for the first time in the UK.

Stretta therapy, which is being used at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital, is an alternative to surgery for patients suffering from the digestive condition. It causes stomach acid to leak out of the stomach and up into the gullet, causing symptoms such as heartburn and difficulty swallowing. The new minimally invasive procedure uses a special catheter to deliver radiofrequency energy to the muscle tissues in the lower part of the gullet. This strengthens the muscle tissue to prevent the reflux occurring.

The treatment 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.

Consultant YKS 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 cutting edge technology.

“It’s fantastic for our patients because they recover much faster and the therapy can offer significant symptom relief for up to ten years with better quality of life.”

One patient who has benefitted from the new procedure and found significant relief is Margaret Wyke, 60, from Middlesbrough, who has suffered from severe acid reflux for more than ten years. She said: “Having the procedure was the best decision I have made. My quality of life has improved overall and it has really changed my life.”