LINX system offers new weapon in treatment of acid reflux
The system works by allowing food and drink into the stomach but preventing the leakage of acid and bile into the oesophagus
Fifteen patients in the UK have already undergone a revolutionary new treatment for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).
A common condition which causes severe pain and discomfort, GORD is traditionally treated with antacids, H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors; or through surgical interventions including fundoplication, where a portion of the stomach is wrapped around the oesophagus to alter the anatomy of the gut.
The system involves a band of magnetic interlinked titanium beads
However, sufferers now have another, less-invasive option following the release of the LINX Reflux Management System by Torax Medical.
Fully reversible and implanted through a keyhole procedure, the solution involves the insertion of a small, flexible band of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores that helps to create a barrier to the reflux of acid and bile.
When swallowing, the magnetic bond holding the beads closed is broken, allowing drink and food to pass through normally. The magnets then close immediately after swallowing to restore the body’s natural barrier to the reflux of acid and bile.
The band is placed around the oesophagus just above the stomach during a minimally-invasive procedure lasting just an hour. It works straight away and patients can resume a normal diet within a few hours and return to normal activities in less than a week. Unlike other surgical interventions, the system also allows belching and vomiting.
In clinical trials, the LINX System was found to significantly reduce levels of acid exposure in the oesophagus for two years after implantation. In addition, 86% of patients completely stopped taking medication following insertion, and 90% had a normal level of acid exposure in the oesophagus. It has since been implanted into 15 UK patients.
The system has been CE marked for sale in Europe and is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)