New Study Results Make a Positive Impact on GERD Patients


New Study Results Make a Positive Impact on GERD Patients

More than 30 to 40 million Americans are affected by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) each year. If you are suffering from GERD, you know the struggle: painful heartburn and regurgitation, which is when food and/or stomach acid comes back up into your esophagus at all times of day and night.

Many GERD patients take over-the-counter PPI (proton pump inhibitor) medications to help control their acid levels, to varying degrees of success. The medications may help you for a period of time, but heartburn and regurgitation can slowly return in 30% of patients, even with increased medication dosage.

St. Elizabeth has great news for patients in the Tristate suffering from GERD – there is a safe, effective and permanent solution to their discomfort: the LINX device. The LINX device is the size of a quarter and designed to take the place of a patient’s reflux barrier. The bracelet-like circle of magnetic titanium beads opens and closes to let food down, but prevents stomach acid from coming back up into the esophagus. The device is placed laparoscopically and patients return to their normal activities quickly post-procedure.


Dr. Valerie Williams, Thoracic Surgeon at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, is the only surgeon in the Tristate area performing the LINX surgery. She is also one of the lead authors in a new nationwide study comparing the LINX Surgery to PPI medications in GERD patients.

The CALIBER Study, published in the January 2019 issue of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (Volume 89, Issue 1), offers groundbreaking data to support the FDA-approved LINX procedure. Thanks to Dr. Williams’ efforts, she was the third top enroller in the study, a notable accomplishment for a national trial.

“This is a landmark clinical trial,” says Dr. Williams. “Prior to the CALIBER Study, there hasn’t been a study that has directly compared the LINX surgery to medical management for moderate to severe GERD.”

The CALIBER Study randomized 152 patients who were all on once-a-day PPI medications with persistent symptoms of GERD. Patients were split into two groups: group one received the minimally-invasive LINX surgery and group two received twice-a-day PPI acid reduction medication.

Key results after six months include:

  • 89% of patients treated with the LINX surgery achieved relief from their GERD symptoms and discomfort; only 10% of the twice-a-day PPI medication group achieved relief from their symptoms.
  • 81% of patients in the LINX group reported >50% improvement in quality of life vs. 8% in the PPI medication group.
  • 91% of patients in the LINX group achieved a normal PH (measure of acidity) score when tested six months after LINX placement; only 51% of the PPI medication group achieved a normal pH score after six months.

“The study really shows what a difference the LINX device can make,” says Dr. Williams. “With LINX, we can significantly reduce your GERD symptoms and get patients back to living a normal, active, reflux-free life.”

Dr. Williams also cautions that GERD is the number one cause of esophageal cancer. GERD isn’t simply something to live with – it can have long-term and potentially cancer-causing complications on your health.

If you or a loved one is struggling with GERD, St. Elizabeth is here to help. Call the St. Elizabeth Thoracic and Foregut Surgery office at (859) 301-2465 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Williams and her team.