Forty million Americans struggle with acid reflux, a digestive problem that often triggers heartburn. A Dublin woman was one of them, until she got a relief with a bracelet.
Maryann Campbell starts her morning with tea. She gave up drinking coffee many years ago, when she began to lose her voice.
"Losing your voice is not very convenient when you have to talk to people, talk to your family, talk at work," she said.
This wife, mother, and nursing teacher also struggled with congestion, night time coughing, and sometimes, heartburn. Her doctor diagnosed acid reflux and prescribed two pills a day to control the acid production. She took them for fifteen years, but the symptoms persisted.
Then her doctor suggested a new treatment.
It's called the Lynx System, and it is essentially a bracelet for heartburn. The tiny bracelet, the size of a man's ring, is a flexible band of magnetic beads encased in titanium.
Dr. Kyle Perry, a gastrointestinal surgeon at the OSU Wexner Medical Center, said it can be slipped around the esophagus where it enters the stomach, with minimally invasive surgery.
"It helps just create a barrier to stomach contents coming back up and causing burning and the sensation of fluid coming up into the throat," Dr. Perry said.
The idea appealed to Campbell.
"I thought if the cause of my reflux is a mechanical problem with my esophagus, that perhaps taking a mechanical approach to the solution might work," she said.
OSU took part in the clinical trials before FDA approval, and Perry said 80 to 90 percent of patients were helped.
"Most of the time, the symptoms are much better after the procedure without medication, than they were with medication beforehand," he said.
Last April, Perry operated on Campbell and attached the bracelet.
"The first night after surgery, I woke up and I could definitely tell that there was a different feeling in my chest," she said. "I'm off the medications completely, and I have not had symptoms at all."
The doctor said for patients like her, this could be the right solution.
"This could help a large number of people who are struggling with incomplete relief," he said.
Perry added that many patients can be helped with over-the-counter pills, but those who still have problems despite the drugs, should talk to their doctors about the surgical fix.
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