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April 24, 2014  
EDUCATION CENTER: The Stretta Procedure
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  • The Stretta® Procedure

    What is the role of reflux in GERD?
    An estimated 60 million people suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Between 15-20 million will experience GERD symptoms (heartburn) on a daily basis. Heartburn sensation can be triggered by the presence of acid and non-acid reflux in your esophagus.

    The purpose of your esophagus is to allow passage of chewed food and liquids that you drink to flow downward into your stomach. There is a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter that separates the esophagus from the stomach. The primary purpose of this sphincter valve is to allow the food to pass through and to keep partially digested food material already in your stomach from flowing upwards.

    To help break down and digest food your stomach can produce up to two liters of very strong acid daily to break down food, to balance this acid production your stomach may at times contain alkaline (opposite of acid) components as well as bile. If this partially digested food flows upwards (reflux) into your esophagus it can be caustic and painful.

    GERD symptoms can be caused by a malfunctioning Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). A malfunctioning LES may allow acid and non-acid material flow up into the esophagus which can give you a sensation of heartburn and chest pain. Left untreated GERD can develop into more serious disease such as Barrett’s Esophagus.

    Watch an animated video of the Stretta Procedure

    RadioFrequency Ablation

    What is the Stretta Procedure?
    The Stretta Procedure is an essentially non-invasive, one-time endoluminal treatment that gently delivers precise radiofrequency (RF) waves to the gastro esophageal (GE) junction to restore lower esophageal sphincter function. Once the lower esophageal sphincter function is restored it will act as a barrier to prevent the upward flow of gastric contents into your esophagus.

    How safe is the Stretta Procedure?
    Current data shows that when used by a trained physician, the Stretta procedure is pretty much as safe as a routine endoscopy procedure, also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). Endoscopy is when the physician will pass a flexible small tube with camera lens at the end of the tube (endoscope) in your mouth and pass into your esophagus and continue into your stomach and duodenum to see if there are any abnormalities of your upper digestive system.

    How is the Stretta Procedure performed?
    Similar to a flexible endoscope, the flexible Stretta catheter is passed through your mouth, down your esophagus to the area just before the opening of your stomach. This area is called the gastro esophageal (GE) junction. This area is also called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). During the Stretta procedure, precise radiofrequency (RF) waves are delivered via small, antennae like electrodes attached to an inflatable balloon that adjusts to the diameter of your LES. Once the balloon is properly situated, RF energy waves are delivered to the muscles of the LES in one minute intervals for a total of 14 minutes. The LES area treated is a cuff about one inch in length. Total procedure time is approximately 30-35 minutes. Post procedure the treated sphincter will become stronger and will function normally as a barrier to prevent acid and non-acid reflux from flowing up into the esophagus. After a short period following the procedure, most patients are either on significantly reduced amounts of medication or completely off.

    What are the benefits of the procedure?

    • Patients who do not respond to stomach acid reducing medications, also called proton pump inhibitors (PPI) may benefit from the Stretta procedure.
    • Patients who have difficulties with taking medications or don’t wish to take medications for the rest of their lives may benefit from for the Stretta procedure.
    • Another approach to treat GERD is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Patients who are not candidates for surgery or who don’t wish to undergo surgery may benefit from the Stretta procedure.
    • Compared to laparoscopic surgery, Stretta is a much less-invasive out patient procedure. Because Stretta is less invasive it has less side-effects.
    • Patients do not need to undergo general anesthesia; generally only mild sedation is used during the Stretta procedure.
    • The entire procedure is less than 40 minutes long and does not require overnight hospitalization. Most patients resume their normal activities the next day.
    • The Stretta procedure has been performed successfully on nearly 10,000 patients.
    • Studies show that 90 percent of patients who have received the Stretta procedure would recommend it to a friend.
    • More than five years of clinical studies have shown that after the Stretta procedure there is a significant improvement in quality of life; with sustainable improvement of GERD symptoms along with less dependence on stomach acid reducing medications.

    What are the side effects?

    • Reported side effects include, sore throat and minor chest pain that can occur for short period of time right after the procedure.
    • Since the treatment site requires time to improve sphincter function, patients may continue to feel GERD symptoms during the transition.

    Is the Stretta procedure right for me?
    Talking to an informed medical professional is the best way to determine if the Stretta procedure is right for you. Appropriately, physicians who are not up to date with the procedure may be hesitant to recommend it. For more information or assistance with finding a trained professional to speak to, click here.

     
    Real-Life Stretta Story
    Chinese Doctor travels to U.S. for Stretta.
     
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    Patient Brochure
    Click Here for a printable patient brochure.
     
    More Information

    For Patient Information about GERD and the Stretta System for treating GERD please visit the Stretta System Web site.

     
    Multimedia

    See video footage of the Stretta System

     

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