New magnetic device helps prevent acid reflux

4:48 PM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - For millions of people, acid reflux makes life miserable, but a new procedure could give them their life back. 

Minnesota singer Geoff Elvee, of Crosslake, is hoping that a device will get him back on stage.

The country singer writes his own music and has had no trouble getting gigs, but after 15 years of dealing with the affects of acid reflux, it became too much.

"My throat was swelling up on me and then I was completely hoarse the day after," Elvee said.

Then two months ago, while recording his third CD, Elvee could no longer talk. 

"I was half way through my CD and lost my voice," he said.

Diet and medications didn't stop stomach acid from coming up and burning his esophagus. He had severe acid reflux.

So in May, Abbott Northwestern Hospital surgeon, Dr. Daniel Dunn placed a ring of titanium-coated magnets at the base of Elvee's esophagus, right above his stomach.

The device is called the Linx from Minnesota Company Torax Medical.

The Linx magnets let food through, but not acid.

"They release let the food through but then they grab back together," which is what prevents acid from coming up," Dunn explained.

Dunn was the first doctor in the world to perform the procedure when it was being studied. 

"Ninety-five percent of the patients who have had this are not taking any antacids any drugs at all at three years," Dunn said.

Three weeks after getting the Linx, Elvee said there was some initial pain and discomfort, but it is starting to get better.

"I can feel it every time I swallow, and I can feel it every time the acid is trying to get up, but I feel it holding the acid back which is a good thing," Elvee said.

Elvee has his speaking voice back and in two or three months, he hopes he can croon once again too.

The Linx is for severe cases of acid reflux. It was approved by the FDA in 2012. Because it's new, many insurance companies won't pay for it yet.  

Elvee is paying the costs out of pocket which run between $14,000 to $20,000. He says it's worth it to get his singing voice back.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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