Should You Consider EndoCinch As A Treatment for Acid Reflux?


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What is the Bard EndoCinch Suturing System procedure?  The Bard EndoCinch Suturing System is actually part of a treatment for acid reflux known as Edoluminal Gastroplication (ELGP).  ELGP is a therapy designed to treat symptomatic GERD.  ELGP creates pleats at the lower esophageal sphincter (LES ) in order to change the gateway between the esophagus and the stomach.  Its purpose is to prevent and reduce the occurrence of acid reflux, as well as the need for acid-controlling medications.

How is the procedure performed?  The procedure is usually performed in the patient’s doctor’s office or at an outpatient center.  After the patient receives a local anesthetic, the doctor inserts an endoscope (thin, illuminated flexible tube) into the patient’s mouth and down through the esophagus.  Once the endoscope is in position, the doctor lowers the Bard EndoCinch Suturing System to the LES  – the site where the esophagus connects to the stomach.

Using the EndoCinch, the doctor places a series of two adjacent sutures (stitches) below the LES .  The sutures are then pulled together in apposition to form a pleat.  The pleat that is created alters the gateway between the esophagus and stomach to reduce acid from being refluxed from the stomach up into the esophagus.  Note:  A patient may require more than one pleat depending on their condition.

Tips on how to prepare for the EndoCinch treatment:
- Be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, if you are pregnant, or suspect pregnancy.
- You will likely need to refrain from eating and drinking 8 - 12 hours before the surgery and may be required to stop any medications you might be currently taking prior to treatment.
- Make sure you know everything you need to know prior to receiving treatment.  This includes understanding exactly what is required of you before, during and after the treatment, as well as bringing any questions and concerns to your doctor’s attention for clarification.
- Although you will not be given a general anesthetic (put unconscious) for the procedure, it’s a good idea to bring a responsible adult with you for support, and incase you wish for someone to drive you home.

What to expect after treatment.   Studies have found that Bard EndoCinch Suturing System can control symptomatic GERD and decrease an individual’s need for medications that provide acid control.  After treatment, many patients have no, or only very mild cases of acid reflux, and experience this improvement within days of the procedure.

The day after the procedure, the vast majority of patients can resume their regular activities without any problems.  Any side effects related to the EndoCinch treatment most often occur during the actual treatment when the endoscope is inserted (I.E. nausea, gagging, vomiting), and after the procedure, as most patients experience a sore throat from the endoscope, but the sore throat disperses within hours.

Who cannot undergo the ELGP and EndoCinch treatment?  Those who are not eligible for this treatment include:
- Individuals with restricted airways
- Individuals who cannot withstand the physical stress associated with surgery or anesthesia
- Individuals with serious medical conditions such as heart disease may also be excluded.

To be certain that this is a safe treatment for you, make sure your doctor is aware of any and all physical or mental medical conditions you may have, including pregnancy.  Based on your current state of health, your doctor may or may not recommend the treatment for you.

How much does EndoCinch cost?  The estimated cost for EndoCinch treatment is around US$3,000.  However cost varies depending on the doctor and where the procedure is done.

Is EndoCinch covered by insurance?  EndoCinch treatment should be covered by most major health insurance companies (I.E. Medicare).  That being said, regardless of the health insurance provider you have, you should never assume that any procedure, examination or surgery will be covered.  Therefore, it is your responsibility to first check what coverage you are entitled to, and if the coverage you are eligible for has limits.  It is also imperative that you fist obtain authorization from the insurance company before having any procedure.
 
To learn more about the EndoCinch test, talk to your doctor or gastroenterologist.


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