|Courtesy Daily Mail article|
What is it?
Direct from Torax Medical website: "The LINX System is a small flexible band of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores. The magnetic attraction between the beads is intended to help the LES resist opening to gastric pressures, preventing reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. LINX is designed so that swallowing forces temporarily break the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass normally into the stomach. Magnetic attraction of the device is designed to close the LES immediately after swallowing, restoring the body's natural barrier to reflux."
- Over 1000 performed worldwide as of summer 2013
- Number of surgeons performing the procedure is rising quickly, especially in the US
- Currently available on the NHS in London and Devon
- Currently not insured by many companies in the US, but Blue Cross Blue Shield has reimbursed the procedure in some areas, and as they are an industry leader, more will likely follow
- Cost privately in the UK is between £8-9,000
- Cost privately in the US varies widely state-to-state, but seems to be between $15-25,000 on average
- Implanting centres can be found here
- Prior to the procedure, you must undergo a battery of tests, usually including: endoscopy, barium swallow, esophageal manometry and 24-hour pH monitoring. More info here. I was 24-hour tested by Dr Anthony Hobson using a more sophisticated version of the pH probe than the one I underwent through the NHS. This was really helpful in pinpointing one cause of my issues: non-acidic reflux. I can highly recommend him.
- FDA approved March 2012
- At ≥ 4 years, 100 % (23/23) of the patients had improved quality-of-life measures for GERD, and 80 % (20/25) had complete cessation of the use of PPIs.
- At 3 years, a reduction of 50% or more in the use of proton-pump inhibitors occurred in 93% of patients, and there was improvement of 50% or more in quality-of-life scores in 92%, as compared with scores for patients assessed at baseline while they were not taking proton-pump inhibitors.
- Not all patients in the study above fared well with the device. Serious adverse events occurred in 6 patients out of 100, and the device was removed in 4 patients without any significant long-term consequences. Dysphagia — difficulty swallowing — occurred in 68 percent of patients following installation of the device, but this side effect tapered off over time.
- 1 known case of erosion, with device removal after patient reported a change in symptoms. Patient fully recovered.
LINX device - LINX surgery - antireflux surgery - heartburn - LINX