Menu Thoracic & Foregut Surgery Meet Your Thoracic Doctors Lung Conditions Lung Cancer Lung Cancer Screenings Mesothelioma Lung Cancer in Kentucky Esophageal Conditions Achalasia Esophageal Cancer Esophageal Diverticulum Esophageal Perforation GERD Leiomyoma Motility Disorders Paraesophageal/Hiatal Hernias Other Chest Conditions Patient Success Stories The White Ribbon Project One Small Device – A Whole New Life For many Americans, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a struggle that can consume their lives – affecting their food, drink and daily activities. GERD is caused when the valve at the bottom of the esophagus is weakened. Food particles and stomach acid can flow back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn, reflux and regurgitation. St. Elizabeth Healthcare is here to give hope to patients suffering from GERD. We proudly offer magnetic sphincter augmentation or LINX, an outpatient procedure that can quickly and effectively curb debilitating GERD symptoms. “I’m Too Young To Be This Miserable” Patients like Chet Sublett have had their lives changed by the LINX device. If you also suffer from GERD, his story will sound familiar. Chet’s acid reflux started in college at the University of Kentucky and for almost 25 years, he battled increasingly uncomfortable symptoms of reflux, heartburn and regurgitation. “These symptoms were the story of my life,” says Chet. “I’d take medication for a few years and then it would gradually work less and less. My body would get used to it. I’d switch medications, the new medicine would work for a little while and then the symptoms would start all over again.” Chet started doubling up on over-the-counter and prescription medicine to try to control the symptoms – but nothing would work long-term. “I decided that I was too young to be taking this amount of medicine,” says Chet. “I’m too young to be this miserable.” Chet started researching more long-term options to help control his GERD. He found LINX and located Dr. Valerie Williams at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the only surgeon in the region to offer LINX. She has performed more than 50 LINX placements and has extensive experience with anti-reflux surgery. “After I met with Dr. Williams and we did some testing, I decided to go ahead with it,” says Chet. “The procedure was straightforward and there didn’t seem to be a downside. I figured if it doesn’t work or I don’t like it, Dr. Williams could just take it out.” But LINX did work on Chet – almost immediately. He took his last GERD medication the day before surgery in late fall 2017 – and he hasn’t needed it since. His esophagus tissue was raw from the long-term effects of the acid reflux, but taking Zantac for a short amount of time after surgery while the tissue healed rectified it quickly. Today, he’s medicine-free and a “huge advocate” of the LINX device. “When I think about how much money I spent on medication and how miserable I was for so many years, I can’t believe it,” says Chet. “The procedure was easy. My recovery was smooth and now I don’t even think about it.” Quick Facts: LINX at St. Elizabeth Healthcare The LINX device can help patients like Chet who have mechanical issues with their lower esophageal valve. The most common reason for a valve that does not work is a hiatal hernia, which is fixed at the time of LINX surgery. If you or a loved one are suffering from GERD, the following quick facts about LINX might be helpful: It’s the size of a quarter. It’s designed to take the place of a patient’s Reflux Barrier. It’s a bracelet-shaped circle of magnetic titanium beads that open and close to let food down but prevent stomach acid from coming back up into the esophagus. It is placed laparoscopically using long instruments and a camera. The LINX placement is an outpatient surgery and takes about an hour. It begins working immediately. LINX is FDA-approved. Officially, data shows that 85% of LINX patients no longer take daily acid suppression medicine; however, Dr. Williams has seen over 90% of her LINX patients go off their daily medication and live acid reflux-free lives. “LINX is an alternative to the conventional surgery of Nissen fundoplication where the top of the stomach is wrapped around the bottom of the esophagus,” says Dr. Williams. “LINX is very safe and offers excellent outcomes for patients suffering from debilitating GERD. It’s less invasive and provides excellent results without the side effects seen with Nissen fundoplication surgery.” An extra benefit from LINX: more restful sleep. Without the discomfort of constant acid reflux, your body is able to relax and sleep better, helping you to feel more refreshed each day. “I’d go to work in the morning with an empty stomach and my reflux would just be on fire,” says Chet. “I hadn’t even eaten yet! Now with the LINX, that’s in the past. I feel great. I cannot believe how one little device has made such a huge impact on my quality of life.” For more information about the LINX procedure offered at St. Elizabeth Healthcare or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Williams, please call (859) 301-2465.