Swedish News Blog

Getting help when you don’t know what to do about your symptoms

Debra Cadiente, RN,BC

Debra Cadiente, RN,BC
Nurse Navigator, Swedish Digestive Health Network

When you’re not feeling well, sometimes it’s hard to know where to turn. As the Nurse Navigator with Swedish Digestive Health Network, I get these calls every day.  Below are a few tips to help you advocate for yourself if you are not feeling well. (Remember to first and foremost get established with a primary care doctor before you become ill!)

1. If you’re not feeling well:

Different treatment options for acid reflux

Ralph W. Aye, MD, FACS

Ralph W. Aye, MD, FACS
Thoracic and Esophageal Surgeon

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common disorder of the upper gastrointestinal track, affecting nearly 40% of the American population.  Antisecretory medications such as omeprazole are the mainstay of treatment, but 40% of patients have incomplete control of symptoms.  While surgical repair (fundoplication) is highly effective, only 1% of patients have an operation, leaving a large group of individuals incompletely treated.

The Stretta procedure is another option to treat GERD. 

KOMO 4 Covers Swedish ‘POEM’ Procedure

Swedish News

KOMO 4’s Molly Shen tells viewers about a new procedure being offered at Swedish Medical Center. Per oral endoscopic myotomy (also known as ‘POEM’) is only being offered in Washington State at Swedish.

View the clip on KOMO 4 here.

Swedish Provides Washington’s First ‘POEM’ Procedure

Swedish News

Per oral endoscopic myotomy could help a range of esophageal, stomach disorders


SEATTLE — September 05, 2014— Swedish surgeons became the first in Washington State to perform a Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) procedure when they successfully treated a 36-year-old patient diagnosed with a rare esophageal disorder known as achalasia.
 
POEM involves inserting an endoscope in the patient’s esophagus through the mouth. Once in place, surgeons use several instruments placed though a channel in the endoscope to treat the affected area. In the case of Washington’s first patient to undergo the procedure, a team of Swedish surgeons led by Ralph Aye, M.D., and Brian Louie, M.D., cut though the inner wall of the esophagus to place the endoscope between the inner esophageal layer and the outer muscular wall. By cutting the inner most muscle layer, pressure created by the valve between the esophagus and the stomach was relieved and the patient’s case was treated successfully.
 
Previously, patients with achalasia were treated using five minimally invasive incisions through the abdominal wall. But because POEM does not require any external incisions, patients can recover quicker with similarly successful outcomes.

Mesothelioma update: shorter course of treatment and improved survival rates?

Alexander Farivar, MD

Alexander Farivar, MD
Thoracic Surgeon

There have been some very exciting recent developments we (the Thoracic Surgery team at Swedish Cancer Institute) are utilizing in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).

Over the past year we have offered some of our patients deemed appropriate for surgery a more streamlined approach to their overall care. Previously we have tried to offer chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation to all patients who were healthy and strong enough to undergo the three treatments, as mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer requiring aggressive treatment to optimize survival. This new approach still offers both surgery and radiation, but chemotherapy is given only to those found to have cancer in lymph nodes in the center of chest during surgery.

The advantages of this new treatment paradigm are ...

Research on LINX recently published

Brian E. Louie, MD

Brian E. Louie, MD
Director of Thoracic Research and Education

The Swedish Thoracic Surgery team recently had results from a study published in Annals of Thoracic Surgery, "Short-Term Outcomes Using Magnetic Sphincter Augmentation Versus Nissen Fundoplication for Medically Resistant Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease", in which a retrospective case-control study was performed of consecutive patients undergoing either procedure who had chronic gastrointestinal esophageal disease (GERD) and a hiatal hernia of less than 3 cm. Based on the study, the LINX device appears to restore the sphincter barrier function and preserve normal physiology which enables belching and vomiting.

Updates on LINX - GERD reflux management system

Brian E. Louie, MD

Brian E. Louie, MD
Director of Thoracic Research and Education

Since my initial LINX blog post 20 months ago, we have been engaged in a dialogue with patients from around the world who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.  Despite my initial trepidation to “blogging”, this has been a rewarding experience to hear about patient’s problems, their concerns about the current treatments (PPI’s and Nissen fundoplication) and simply interacting with them.  I thank the patients who have taken time to share their thoughts on the blog.

 

When our social media manager asked me to provide an update on LINX, I realized that I have been simply responding to patient’s questions and I haven’t posted any of my thoughts or updates on what is happening with the LINX device.

There are some exciting developments for patients who are interesting in having a LINX implanted.

 
Use of MRI and LINX
  • Torax, the company who designed and manufactures the LINX device, has received FDA support for the use of MRI with the LINX device.  This conditional approval allows for patients to undergo and MRI that is 0.7 Tesla or less.   I am trying to clarify with our radiologists what a 0.7 Tesla MRI will cover.
Medicare coverage
 
  • For medicare patients, LINX now has a dedicated procedure code that allows for payment to cover the cost of the hospital portion of implanting the LINX device.  The surgeon’s fee is a separate code and fee and is usually covered.
Insurance update
 
  • For patients with non-medicare insurance, the ...
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