Eastern Long Island Hospital

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Friday, March 02, 2012
By Stephanie @ 6:09 PM :: 1656 Views :: Community

Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus that is caused by stomach acid. Occasional heartburn isn't dangerous, but chronic heartburn can indicate a more serious condition and can develop into Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), often called "Acid Reflux."

Most people experience occasional heartburn. Talk to a physician to diagnose symptoms if heartburn occurs twice a week or more, or if it persists for over a month.

Though heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD, nearly half of those affected by the condition don't experience symptoms.

Alternatively, GERD sufferers may feel food regurgitation into their mouth, or develop a dry cough, experience asthma symptoms, or have trouble swallowing.

It is important to diagnose and manage GERD, because left untreated, symptoms may damage the esophagus. Chronic reflux repeatedly exposes the esophagus' lining to gastric acid from the stomach's contents. Under these circumstances, normal cells can undergo genetic alteration, transforming into precancerous Barrett's cells. This condition, called Barrett's esophagus, is estimated to affect approximately 3.3 million U.S. adults.

Approximately 13% of Caucasian men over 50 who experience chronic reflux will develop Barrett's esophagus which can lead to esophageal cancer.

How is Barrett's esophagus treated?

Standard of care has long been observation and medication or surgical intervention. ELIH is now able to offer a new state-of-art non-surgical option called "radiofrequency ablation" by gastroenterologist, Dhiren Mehta, MD.

Dr. Mehta is one of the first physicians to be certified in this procedure on the East End of Long Island."

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a new more proactive approach," reports Dr. Mehta. "Removing Barrett's cells can reverse years of damage to the esophagus without causing injury to healthy underlying tissue, allowing regrowth of normal cells."

The procedure is performed endoscopically under conscious sedation in an outpatient setting and usually requires three to four treatments. A short burst of ablative energy removes a very thin layer of the diseased esophagus. Minor discomfort following the procedure can be treated with medication. Following treatment, patients resume acid suppression therapy."

Dr. Mehta dependably addresses the gastroenterology needs of our North Fork community. We are fortunate to have such an accomplished physician affiliated with our hospital," notes Paul J. Connor III, ELIH's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Practicing on the East End for 15 years, Dr. Mehta completed his residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Services at Elmhurst Hospital Center where he earned the distinction of Best Third Year Resident.

Following his residency, Dr. Mehta passed the American Boards of Internal Medicine, scoring in the 99th percentile on his certification. He later pursued a fellowship in Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases at Mount Sinai Services at Elmhurst Hospital Center.

He has published nationally in the American Journal of Gastroenterology as well as the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Angiology-Journal of Vascular Diseases. He presents frequently in his field of expertise.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mehta, call 631.727.4171

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