Years of Suffering Ends for Horizon Health Patient

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Years of Suffering Ends for Horizon Health Patient

‘I realize now what I was missing’

Lisa Boydston recently did something she hadn’t done in 20 years – eat pizza.

It was a big deal for her. For years she was unable to eat her favorite foods due to severe acid reflux. But that all changed, she said, thanks to a “life changing” procedure at Horizon Health.

“The pizza was good. I realize now what I was missing,” said Lisa, age 48, of Paris.

Lisa’s problem was caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), with the main symptom of heartburn.

GERD is the chronic backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. It occurs when a valve at the base of the esophagus doesn’t close properly. The most common GERD symptoms are heartburn and regurgitation, which affect approximately one in five Americans.

“I’ve had acid reflux since I was 10 years old,” Lisa explained. “I would vomit two to three times a day and had to hydrate all the time. I even needed IVs [intravenous fluids].”

Dr. Yaniv Cozacov, general surgeon at Horizon Health, performed a TIF (transoral incisionless fundoplication) to repair Lisa’s problematic valve. This minimally invasive, incisionless procedure is done through the mouth, resulting in a faster, less painful recovery than other methods.

“With the TIF procedure, we are reconstructing the anatomy and rebuilding the valve,” Dr. Cozacov explained. “This is a unique approach that other anti-reflux procedures don’t offer.”

Years of taking medications, including antacids, proved unsuccessful, Lisa said. She finally discussed the problem with Dr. Laney Robinson, primary care physician at Horizon Health. Dr. Robinson referred her to Dr. Cozacov, who discovered the problem after performing an upper endoscopy.

“I was seeing doctors in Terre Haute for stomach problems,” Lisa said. “They said I had an overactive stomach and thought ulcers were causing the reflux. They kept changing the medications, upping the doses, and adding more. It didn’t do much.”

When it comes to GERD, antacids are a chemical solution to a mechanical problem, Dr. Cozacov said. Many patients don’t want to take medications for the rest of their lives and still have symptoms that impair their quality of life. That’s where the TIF procedure comes in – it offers long-lasting and safe results.

“Lisa only had minimal improvement with multiple medications and doubling up on doses,” Dr. Cozacov said. “Anti-reflux surgery was a valid option for her.”

During the procedure, Dr. Cozacov also repaired a large hiatal hernia, a known risk factor for GERD. A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach protrudes up into the chest through the diaphragm muscle located below the lungs.

Following the procedures at Horizon Health, Lisa no longer has acid reflux and can enjoy her favorite foods, which includes pizza, red sauce, oranges, and grapefruit.

“I can eat anything now,” she said. “I haven’t vomited once since the surgery. [Dr. Cozacov] is a really good doctor.”