Indigestion & Barrett’s Esophagus Cured with new Procedure
Going to a restaurant was a nightmare for Nancy Corbett. She never knew if her meal was going to stay down due to her constant indigestion and difficulty swallowing.
“It had gotten so bad that one night while hosting a dinner party, I took two bites and couldn’t swallow,” said the Joliet resident. “I had to go to the Emergency Department.”
Nancy had been living this way for several years before mentioning it to Dr. R.A. Gamagami during her routine colonoscopy. Dr. Gamagami is an expert in daVinci robotic-assisted procedures to treat heartburn, digestive disease, and complex colorectal cancer. Surgeons from around the world travel to Silver Cross to train under him.
Dr. Gamagami performed an Upper GI exam at Silver Cross Hospital which uncovered that Nancy had Barrett’s esophagus, a serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that could develop into esophageal cancer if not treated.
“I thought I would have to go to Chicago for care, but Dr. Gamagami told me all I had to do was walk down the hall to see the best man in the business to treat Barrett’s – Dr. Ayub,” said Nancy.
“Once you’ve got Barrett’s, no antacids or acid-blockers can undo the pre-cancerous change – it will not heal without treatment,” said Dr. Kamran Ayub, medical director of the Advanced Endoscopy Center at Silver Cross Hospital. “The current gold standard to treat the condition is with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy to remove a thin layer of the diseased tissue.”
Endoscopic ablation with RFA allows Dr. Ayub to provide a controlled amount of heat to the diseased precancerous tissue which in turn minimizes any injury to healthy esophagus tissue. Once the tissue is removed, normal healthy tissue grows within three to four weeks.
“For some people, one ablation does the trick and their Barrett’s esophagus is gone. In Nancy’s case, the diseased tissue was deep, more extensive and widespread and couldn’t safely be removed at one time. We had to perform three ablation procedures over the past year so as to not damage healthy tissue or the surrounding muscles.”
However, Nancy’s Barrett’s esophagus kept reoccurring, therefore Nancy’s last endoscopic treatment in 2016 was different in that Dr. Ayub used a new technique called Hybrid APC. Dr. Ayub is one of the few experts in country performing this special treatment for Barrett’s esophagus. Before the thermal ablation, Dr. Ayub used a high pressure water jet to raise the mucus membrane surrounding the esophagus providing a water cushion. This technique enabled the Barrett’s esophagus to be destroyed with high energy and power using argon gas while still preserving the underlying layers of tissue.
Silver Cross is the only hospital in Illinois offering Hybrid APC for Barrett’s esophagus, and Dr. Ayub has performed more than 30 procedures with excellent results.
“My Barrett’s esophagus is completely gone,” said Nancy. “And so is my indigestion. I can eat again without hesitation or difficulty.”
To learn more about the recent advances in medical, endoscopic, and surgical management including Hybrid APC and robotic-assisted procedures to treat Barrett’s esophagus and gastro esophageal reflux, join Drs. Ayub and Gamagami Thursday, April 13. This free program will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Register to attend.