The Heartburn Treatment Center

Heartburn. Most of us don't think about it until we eat that loaded sub or the latest mega-burger from the local fast food Joint. For many, it's only an annoyance, and downing a couple of antacids will cure the problem until the next over-indulgence occurs.

However, for some people heartburn is a miserable life-altering condition. Some people buy antacids by the truckload trying to get rid of their heartburn. Eating or drinking anything, including water, can give them a severe case and drain their energy for hours afterwards. It keeps them up at night. It decreases their work productivity. The fear of an embarrassing public choking episode can force an almost reclusive shroud over an otherwise outgoing person. In recent years there have been dramatic advances in our understanding of heartburn as well as the development of new diagnostics and therapies The Heartburn Treatment Center at Maria Parham Health is being developed to make all of these advances available to heartburn sufferers.

Heartburn is the most common symptom of a disease called GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). Other symptoms include regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness, and chest pain. Its cause is the "backup" of stomach acid into the "swallowing tube" or esophagus. This acid should not be there and causes irritation of the fragile lining of the esophagus.

Over 30 percent of the population suffers to some degree with this ailment and most are treated quite effectively with either over-the-counter medications, or prescription drugs. However, once you have GERD, you have it for life and treatment choices must be delivered with this in mind. In addition, many years of heartburn has been clearly associated with an increased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus. This new knowledge as well as development of new diagnostics and treatments has provided the opportunity for all sufferers to obtain relief. The average patient will no longer have to navigate the confusing "medical maze" trying to decide who to call, which physician to see and waiting weeks for appointments. With the opening of The Heartburn Treatment Center at Maria Parham Health, the area population and referring physicians will have a specialized center focusing on clinical excellence as well as easy access, information, convenience and support.

The Heartburn Treatment Center at Maria Parham Health is being developed in collaboration with Legato Medical Systems. This company specializes in the multi-disciplinary therapy of GERD and utilizes a proven disease management process focused on clinical excellence and customer service. They work on an ongoing basis with Maria parham and area physicians in the coordination of services so that patients are offered all appropriate treatment choices and that these treatments are delivered with optimal results.

Recently the medicine, diagnostics and procedures available for GERD sufferers have exploded and will continue to do so. This phenomenon has created the potential for disjointed information and even conflict from provider to provider. "The Heartburn Treatment Center will provide Maria Parham Health and its patients continuous, seamless medical care for this condition," says Dr. Chris Dengler, President of Legato.

Most patients with GERD are effectively treated with medicines usually delivered through area primary care physicians. This care will, of course continue. The Heartburn Treatment Center will serve as an extension to augment what is already available. Patients who have particularly severe symptoms, need specialized diagnostics or do not obtain desired relief on medicines will have access to additional avenues to relief through the Center.

The Heartburn Treatment Center at Maria Parham Health will provide smooth access to comprehensive treatment of GERD as a service to both patients and referring physicians. Patient education and participation in treatment decisions is paramount at the Center, and the process is streamlined by eliminating long waits between appointments. The designated "expert", Nurse Coordinator Alexia Edwards, RN, will be readily available to patients at all times. All physicians involved in the treatment communicate together and supply unified care that produces unparalleled patient satisfaction. After diagnosis and treatment at the Center, the patient will be as impressed with the way they were treated as they will be with the outcome of their treatment.

The Center will offer complete evaluation and diagnostic tools including endoscopy, ambulatory pH monitoring and esophageal manometry. Combined with the latest in medical technology, the Center also will offer patients a minimally invasive surgical procedure. This procedure, requiring only an overnight hospital stay, cures chronic heartburn with a success rate of over 90%. Area surgeons have received specialized training in this specific procedure.

Maria Parham Health is excited about the opening of its new Heartburn Treatment Center and sees it as a logical extension of their active participation in the current trend towards wellness programs and commitment to community health.

Online access to The Heartburn Treatment Center at Maria Parham Health can be found at www.mariaparham.com/GERD.  For more information, please call Alexia Edwards, Heartburn Treatment Center Nurse Coordinator at (888) 9NO-GERD. Patients can be referred to the center through their primary care physician or by calling The Heartburn Treatment Center at Maria Parham Health directly.

For more info, please call: (888) 9NO-GERD