Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New procedure opens up new world for people who have trouble swallowing food

Date:
March 3, 2014
Source:
Houston Methodist
Summary:
A new minimally-invasive procedure called Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) will help people with "jackhammer esophagus," a condition that occurs when they esophagus doesn't open properly making it difficult to impossible to swallow food. It also makes the patient feel like he or she is having a heart attack 24/7. The POEM procedure leaves no surgical scars and is essentially pain free and patients can return to work in less than a week.

Six weeks ago 67-year old John Galbreath welcomed death, rather than live one more day. Intense pain in his chest had left him nearly bedridden for four months. Galbreath had a condition called jackhammer esophagus, which made him feel like the name suggests -- like a jackhammer was going off in his chest.

"This is a condition where the esophagus spasms out of control and causes the patient to feel like they are having a heart attack 24/7," said Dr. Brian Dunkin, a minimally invasive surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital. "With this condition, the esophagus does not contract properly causing patients to either have terrible chest pain or not be able to swallow food or fluid without it backing up into the esophagus. Now there's an easier way to fix the problem, and we are the only ones doing it in Texas."

The standard treatment for jackhammer esophagus is to perform surgery through the chest and can include up to five incisions. Sometimes a tube is placed in the chest for two to three days and there is a minimum of two weeks off work. Now there's a new minimally-invasive procedure to treat jackhammer esophagus and another disorder called achalasia, which is when the opening between the esophagus and stomach is blocked.

The procedure, Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy or POEM, involves fixing the problems through the mouth instead of the chest. Like they did with Galbreath, surgeons operate through the mouth using a gastroscope, a thin flexible camera made to look into the esophagus and stomach. They drive the gastroscope down under the mucosa, the inner lining of the esophagus, all the way to the stomach wall and then cut the muscle of the lower esophagus and upper stomach to relieve the spasm and blockage. The POEM procedure leaves no surgical scars and is essentially pain free and patients can return to work in less than a week.

"Most of these patients don't realize how bad their situation has gotten until they can swallow again," Dunkin said. "The pain and heartburn from spasm or food and fluid backing up is virtually gone and they can get on with a normal life."

Galbreath says he felt like a new man as soon as he woke up from surgery.

"On Super Bowl Sunday, I was able to eat shrimp, chips and a hot dog with no pain or discomfort," Galbreath said. "After years of being misdiagnosed, I cannot tell you how happy I am that I was properly diagnosed and able to undergo this procedure."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Houston Methodist. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Houston Methodist. "New procedure opens up new world for people who have trouble swallowing food." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303143253.htm>.
Houston Methodist. (2014, March 3). New procedure opens up new world for people who have trouble swallowing food. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303143253.htm
Houston Methodist. "New procedure opens up new world for people who have trouble swallowing food." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303143253.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins