Archive | August, 2019

Feeling the Burn? New Treatment Ends Acid Reflux Disease

Patti Williams woke up in the middle of the night and thought she was having a heart attack.

“I had pain in my chest, back, jaw, neck and down my left arm,” she said. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. And I was terrified.”

Patti Williams inside Lexington Medical Center

Patti’s husband took her from their home in Gilbert to the Emergency department at Lexington Medical Center. Doctors performed a series of tests that ruled out cardiac problems. But they saw something else on an ultrasound that caught their attention.

Patti had a hiatal hernia, which occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges through the diaphragm. A hiatal hernia may cause acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), where stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. In some cases, that can cause the type of pain Patti felt.

Patti went to see James D. Givens, MD, FACS, at Riverside Surgical Group, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

Patti told Dr. Givens she’d been experiencing acid reflux symptoms for about two years. She noticed that when she ate certain things – including onions and fried foods – she would experience indigestion, heartburn and even a nagging cough. Sometimes, it would get so bad that she broke out in a sweat and felt nauseated. She treated it with medications, but it always came back.

“Medications can suppress acid reflux symptoms, but they don’t take away the core of the problem. Acid reflux continues to damage your esophagus,” Dr. Givens said. “The only way Patti was going to get relief was with surgery.”

Dr. Jim Givens

Dr. Givens told Patti about a new surgical option called LINX®. During this laparoscopic procedure, doctors implant a small, flexible band of magnetic beads around the esophageal valve. The string of beads opens and closes to allow patients to swallow food and liquids, but it doesn’t allow contents back up into the esophagus. The magnetic attraction between the titanium-coated beads keeps the valve closed to prevent reflux.

“LINX is the most important change in anti-reflux surgery in the last 70 years,” Dr. Givens said.

The procedure takes about an hour. Patients can go home within a day and are typically back to work and their regular routine in a week. According to Dr. Givens, someone who needs to take acid reflux medications every day to ease their symptoms should consider a surgical option such as LINX.

Patti underwent the procedure in February. During the operation, Dr. Givens also repaired her hiatal hernia.

After the surgery, Patti noticed clear differences and felt better. “I don’t have to take medication anymore for acid reflux,” she said. “Before the surgery, if I didn’t take medicine, I’d have bad indigestion and chest pain. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

For more information on surgical solutions for acid reflux disease, visit RiversideSurgical.com.

Lexington Brain and Spine Institute Welcomes Christopher A. Beal, DO

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to welcome Christopher A. Beal, DO, to its network of care at Lexington Brain and Spine Institute. Dr. Beal joins the board-certified physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners at the practice who treat patients with a wide array of painful conditions from knee, hip and joint pain to spine disorders and cancer pain.

Christopher A. Beal, DO

Certified in advanced cardiovascular life support and basic life support, Dr. Beal has experience performing electrodiagnostic studies, ultrasound-guided musculoskeletal injections, trigger point injections, spinal cord stimulation, nerve blocks and radiofrequency ablations, among other procedures.

He most recently completed his pain management fellowship, where he obtained the necessary skills for comprehensive treatment of painful disorders due to spine and non-spine conditions. This training includes accurate diagnosis, pharmacologic management, advanced interventional technique and innovative implant therapy.

Dr. Beal graduated magna cum laude from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and earned a master’s degree in biomedical studies from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. He then earned his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University of Osteopathic Medicine in Davie, Florida. Dr. Beal completed his physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at Virginia Commonwealth University Health in Richmond, Virginia, serving as chief resident. He also completed a pain medicine fellowship at VCU Health.

Dr. Beal is accepting new patients.

Lexington Brain and Spine Institute
Lexington Medical Park 3
222 East Medical Lane, Suite 200
West Columbia, SC 29169

(803) 935-8410
LexingtonBrainandSpine.com
Now Accepting Patients

Finding the Right Beat: Pacemaker puts Blythewood Woman Back in the Cycling Seat

Sharon Sherbourne knew something wasn’t right. An avid cyclist and runner, she was training for a long-distance race when her legs felt heavy and her heart rate remained low even when she was exercising vigorously.

The 67 year old had begun an exercise routine about 15 years earlier, while she helped implement wellness programs as vice president of human resources at a Blythewood manufacturing plant. “I knew I had to walk the walk, so I started doing aerobics. A friend from church got me involved in the running community, so I started training for a 5K, and that morphed into doing an 8K.”

Sharon cycling in Blythewood

She eventually completed four full 26-mile marathons, along with numerous half-marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. About 10 years ago, she added long-distance cycling to her workouts, but recently, she found herself out of breath climbing a flight of stairs. She made an appointment to see a doctor.

“My first cardiologist told me I was simply getting older and I probably didn’t need to be doing all that stuff,” Sharon said. “But I knew it was more than that. You know your own body.”

Then, she was referred to Lexington Cardiology and William W. Brabham, MD, FHRS, an electrophysiologist with Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. Dr. Brabham specializes in the treatment of abnormal heart rhythms. He scheduled a treadmill stress test for Sharon.

“As her workload increased on the treadmill, her heart rate peaked in the 70s to 80s, which is very unusual for her age. At 67, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for her heart rate to reach the 150s to 160s, especially with the level of activity that she typically would participate in,” Dr. Brabham said.

He diagnosed her problem as chronotropic incompetence, which is the inability of the heart to increase its rate to a level that matches a person’s activity level, combined with AV block, a condition where the signals from the top chambers of the heart don’t make it to the bottom chambers.

“It appeared most likely a result of age-related changes in the conduction system of the heart,” he said. “Just the way the rest of your body ages, the conduction system in your heart can age to varying degrees.”

Dr. William Brabham, Lexington Cardiology

He recommended a pacemaker, a device that monitors heart rate and stimulates the heart if it drops below a pre-programmed rate. A dual-chamber pacemaker, the type Sharon has, also restores the connection between the top and bottom chambers of the heart.

Sharon’s pacemaker was implanted in March; by late June, she was training for a 100-mile bike ride.

“I feel fantastic. It had gotten to the point where, when I was walking up stairs at the house, I’d get to the top and I’d be completely out of breath. So I had my pacemaker implant on March 7, I came home March 8 and the very first thing I did was walk up the stairs to see if it had made a difference. It had.”

For Sharon, a mother of two, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of one, the experience drove home the importance of listening to her body and going the extra mile for answers.

“Age should not be the marker for anything. Your physical fitness level, what you enjoy doing, what you’re used to doing — that should be what drives your behavior and drives your medical practitioner’s response,” she said. “I felt that Dr. Brabham really understood that and worked with me to make all of it happen.”