Published on April 01, 2019

Stamford Health Opens Heartburn, Reflux & Esophageal Specialty Center

Stamford, CT/April 1, 2019 – Stamford Health has officially launched its Heartburn, Reflux & Esophageal Specialty Center. This new program specializes in treating a range of esophageal conditions from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to esophageal cancer. 

About 60 million Americans struggle with heartburn at least once a month and some 15 million experience heartburn daily, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

Other common conditions, which will be treated under the new specialty center program, include hiatal hernia, Barrett’s esophagus, motility disorders, achalasia, and anatomic disorders interfering with swallowing. 

“These conditions of the esophagus are extremely common, and we want to offer patients an option to receive care under one coordinated multidisciplinary program,” said Dr. Michael Ebright, Director, Heartburn, Reflux & Esophageal Specialty Center at Stamford Health. “Patients do not need to suffer from esophageal symptoms. This enterprise includes a combination of specialized clinical expertise and state-of-the-art techniques to address these issues.”

The specialty center will address patient cases with a multidisciplinary approach – similar to cancer treatment – where a team of physicians work together to develop a unique treatment plan for each patient. Physicians are located in Stamford and in Greenwich, each with its own esophageal testing center. Treatment options range from medication optimization, cancer surveillance, radiofrequency mucosal ablation, endoscopic anti-reflux procedures, and a range of minimally-invasive thoracoscopic and laparoscopic techniques including minimally-invasive esophagectomy.

“We have several new minimally invasive surgical treatment options. This includes the LINX device, where we place a small magnetic bracelet around the lower part of the esophagus to reinforce the closing function,” said Dr. Ebright, who is also Stamford Health’s Director of Thoracic Surgery and attending surgeon at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia. Dr. Ebright also has one of the largest experiences on the East coast performing incisionless endoscopic fundoplication procedures for GERD —a non-surgical method of treating reflux.

Less common than other cancers, esophageal cancer accounts for about one percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States, with about 17,000 cases diagnosed in the country. However, Dr. Ebright says there is a disturbing increase in a type of esophageal cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma, which usually affects the lower portion of the esophagus.  Some risk factors for esophageal cancer include GERD, smoking, obesity, alcohol intake, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Risk of the disease can be reduced by quitting smoking, decreasing alcohol intake, eating more fruits and vegetables and maintaining a healthy weight. The specialty center includes a registry to monitor and track patients with abnormal esophageal lining who may be at increased risk for esophageal cancer.     

Patients who would like to find out more information or to schedule an appointment with the specialty center can call 203-276-GERD or visit the Stamford Health Heartburn, Reflux, & Esophageal Specialty Center website.

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