St. Elizabeth Healthcare Participates in Groundbreaking National Study Friday February 1, 2019 Edgewood, KY - St. Elizabeth Healthcare is pleased to announce Dr. Valerie Williams’ involvement in a national groundbreaking clinical trial for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Dr. Williams is the fourth author listed in the CALIBER Study, published in the January 2019 issue of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (Volume 89, Issue 1). Thanks to her efforts, she was the third top enroller in the study, a notable accomplishment for a national trial. Thirteen of Dr. Williams’ patients are included in the CALIBER Study data, including Northern Kentucky resident Patricia Pillion. “This is a landmark clinical trial,” says Dr. Williams. “Prior to the CALIBER Study, there hasn’t been a clinical trial that has directly compared the LINX surgery to medication management for moderate to severe GERD.” The CALIBER Study randomized 152 patients who were all on once-a-day PPI (proton pump inhibitor) medications with persistent symptoms of GERD. The 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’s data demonstrates that increasing acid reflux medication to manage GERD will yield little relief for patients. By contrast, the data supports LINX surgery as an effective and permanent solution – one that can help GERD patients achieve a significant reduction of symptoms and get back to living a reflux-free life. GERD is a widespread issue: it affects between 30 to 40 million Americans each year. Symptoms include painful heartburn and regurgitation, which is when food and/or stomach acid come back up through the esophagus. Patients with GERD are typically treated with over-the-counter PPI medications to reduce their acid levels. Often, even lifestyle changes of avoiding spicy food, eating smaller meals, losing weight and not laying down after eating are largely ineffective for treating GERD. “In addition to significant discomfort, GERD can also be dangerous: it’s the number one cause of esophageal cancer,” says Dr. Williams. “Chronic GERD can lead to a change in the lining of the esophagus called Barrett’s Esophagus, and patients with Barrett’s have a 50 times higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. If you’re suffering from GERD, you want to fix the issue to prevent potentially cancer-causing complications.” The LINX surgery is the first step in providing long-term relief to GERD patients. The LINX device is FDA-approved and built to last for the entirety of the patient’s life – no replacement needed. Unlike other reflux-reducing surgeries, LINX still gives patients the ability to burp, belch or vomit, helping to significantly reduce bloat. About 15,000 LINX placements have been completed worldwide and current data shows that at least 85% of LINX patients are off all daily acid medication. “In just the last six months, we’ve done almost 40 LINX placements on patients in the Tristate area,” says Dr. Williams. “It’s wonderful and rewarding to offer our patients an option for long-term relief from GERD.” For more information on the CALIBER Study and the LINX procedure, please call the St. Elizabeth Thoracic Surgery office at (859) 301-2465 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Williams and her team.