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GERD treatment

Magnetic ring aids with long-term reflux improvement

The Linx system consists of a ring of magnets which fits around the oesophageal sphincter, helping it close.
64% of patients normalised or significantly reduced reflux at three years
92% of patients reported 50%+ improvement in quality of life
Study authors: more research needed to establish long-term safety

Results from a trial studying the Linx Reflux Management System showed that it helps to resolve or improve the symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) up to three years after implantation.

The study, which involved 100 patients suffering from chronic GERD, found that at three years, 64% of patients either had a complete normalisation of oesophageal acid exposure, or a 50% or greater reduction in their symptoms. 93% of patients were able to reduce their use of proton-pump inhibitor drugs by 50% or more, and 92% of patients reported an improvement in their quality-of-life score of 50% or more.

The Linx system is a ring of magnets which fits around the oesophageal sphincter. Magnetic attraction pulls the magnets together, helping close the weak sphincter.

The new results are a continuation of a trial involving 14 medical centres in Europe and the US. The one-year results of the trial led to the device being approved for use by the FDA; it is currently available in the US and Europe.

“The biggest challenge in treating patients with GERD over the last 20 years is that the medicines available alleviate the symptoms but are unable to treat the underlying problem – a weak sphincter,” said Dr C. Daniel Smith, professor of surgery and chair of the Department of Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Florida. “The only other surgical option, Nissen fundoplication, was developed decades ago, and while it can be effective, it is tricky to perform and get good results, and some of the side effects can be quite distressing to patients. Patients need another alternative.”

Nine out of ten patients in the study expressed satisfaction with their overall condition in the study, compared to 13% when they were relying on medication alone.

However, early complications were common: 68% of patients reported suffering from postoperative dysphagia, reducing to 11% at one year and 4% at three years. The authors of the study conclude that more research is needed to assess the device’s long-term safety.

“The Linx System is the result of a ten-year collaboration with experts in medicine and industry,” said Mr Todd Berg, CEO of Torax Medical, the manufacturers of the device. “We are proud to be a part of this innovative breakthrough in the treatment of GERD.”

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