Heartburn Center

You avoid foods you love. You labor through painful, sleepless nights.

It's time to take control of your eating - and your life - with personalized care and medical expertise from the Heartburn Center.


GERD is a condition where stomach acid backs up into the lower esophagus two or more times a week. GERD usually begins as a burning pain that starts behind the breastbone and radiates upward to the neck. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) stops the flow of acid into the esophagus. When it is weak or relaxes inappropriately, GERD can occur. The symptoms of GERD include:

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty sleeping or lying flat

Left untreated, chronic acid reflux can damage the esophagus and possibly lead to esophageal cancer. Many times lifestyle and dietary changes alone cannot prevent chronic heartburn. As many as 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. About 25 million adults in the United States experience daily heartburn. The Heartburn Center offers heartburn sufferers personalized care for each patient.

heartburn center teamServices

The Heartburn Center is staffed by board-certified gastroenterologists and surgeons, and nurses who are specially trained in chronic heartburn management. At the Heartburn Center, we are on the cutting edge of emerging diagnostic and treatment trends. From medicine to minimally invasive surgery, you can rest easy, knowing the most thorough evaluations and treatments are at our command.

Upper Endoscopy

One of our staff gastroenterologists will use this procedure to evaluate the condition of the tissue in your esophagus and stomach. Using a slender scope, pictures and biopsies of these areas may be taken as necessary.

Medical Therapy

The array of medications for heartburn treatment is rapidly changing. Through continuing education, our staff gastroenterologists are highly knowledgeable in the proper use, dosing and effects of all medications and can help you make decisions on the medication's benefits versus its expense.

Esophageal Manometry

This procedure, which is performed by one of our trained nurses, measures pressures in the esophagus and provides information about its function.

24-Hour pH Impedance Study

This study involves recording actual acid and non-acid levels (pH) in the esophagus for 24 hours while you are at home and carrying out your daily activities. This information accurately establishes whether or not GERD is the cause of your symptoms.

48-Hour Bravo pH Study

This study involves recording actual acid levels (pH) in the esophagus for 48 hours while you are at home and carrying out your daily activities. The test is catheter-free (meaning no tube or wire remains in your nose or mouth) after placement of the capsule. Your doctor will analyze results from this test to determine what is causing your symptoms and the treatment to prescribe for you.

Minimally invasive surgery

When medicine isn't the best option, minimally invasive surgical procedures can be performed by one of our staff surgeons. These surgeries involve tiny incisions and usually require only an overnight hospital stay.

Surgeons at NMMC offer a procedure called LINX®, which is designed to augment the weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to help prevent reflux.

The LES is a muscle at the junction of the esophagus and stomach that functions as the body's natural barrier to reflux. The LES acts as like a valve, allowing food and liquid to pass through to the stomach. Normally, the LES resists opening to gastric pressures to prevent reflux. In people with GERD, the LES is weak and allows acid and bile to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus, often causing injury to the lining of the esophagus and symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat and cough.

LINX® is a small, flexible band of magnets enclosed titanium beads. The beads are connected by titanium wires. The magnetic attraction between the beads is designed to help keep the weak LES closed to prevent reflux.

Swallowing forces temporarily break the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass into the stomach. Magnetic attraction closes the LES after swallowing to reinforce the body's natural barrier to reflux.

LINX® is placed around the esophagus just above the stomach using a common, minimally invasive, surgical technique called laparoscopy. Patients are placed under general anesthesia during the procedure, which is generally completed in less than one hour. Once implanted, the device will begin working immediately.

Incorporation of new therapies

To ensure you get the best care available, our staff constantly evaluates and incorporates new and emerging therapies and technologies, including endoscopic therapies. Our physicians participate in national clinical research studies and provide their expertise as a test site for leading edge therapies and technologies. 

For more information

(662) 377-5792
E-mail: ceharrelson@nmhs.net

Make an Appointment

Services at the Center for Digestive Health are available by physician referral. For more information, call (662) 680-5565.

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