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Joan Quillen Bruce – Reflux Care

As a home care nurse in Grand Rapids, Joan Quillen Bruce had a health issue that made doing her job more and more difficult.

“I struggled with acid reflux disease for about 30 years and it just kept getting worse,” Joan explains. “Every time I would bend over or squat, acid would roll up my throat into my mouth. The severe burning feeling in my throat made it difficult to lie down and sleep. I was having a hard time eating and was losing weight.”

Joan was taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication twice a day to reduce her stomach acid and symptoms but still felt miserable.

Then Joan attended a seminar on heartburn and reflux solutions sponsored by the Minnesota Reflux and Heartburn Center at Riverwood Healthcare Center. She made an appointment in Aitkin to see a reflux specialist and underwent comprehensive diagnostic testing.

Joan was diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition that may potentially lead to esophageal cancer. The reflux specialist recommended she be treated with the LINX procedure to permanently stop the progression of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), with the added benefit of stopping her PPI medication.

The LINX System is a small flexible bracelet of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores. It is implanted with a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure around the weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The magnetic attraction between the beads helps the LES resist opening to gastric pressures, preventing reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. Swallowing food temporarily opens the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass normally into the stomach.

Joan underwent the LINX procedure and repair of a hiatal hernia at Riverwood in December 2017. Six months later, she has no reflux symptoms and is no longer taking any anti-reflux medication.

“What a night-and-day difference!” Joan exclaims. “I would highly recommend the LINX procedure. I can’t tell you how much it has changed my life. It’s so exciting to be able to bend over again without getting acid reflux. It was well worth the 50-mile drive to Riverwood to get this outstanding care and treatment.”


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