Very large paraesophageal hernia with obstruction
I am a 63 year old female who has had heartburn for 30+ years and have been on meds the entire time to treat it. I knew I had a small hiatal hernia, but after about 24 years and worsening symptoms, I recently had another EGD at the Denver Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery to see if I qualified for the Linx procedure. I was shocked to find out I have a very large PEH (5 cm), Hill Grade 4. The surgeon also stretched a stricture in the esophagus and said I most likely need surgery. Since the procedure, the heartburn is so much worse with lots of bloating and belching. I am so uncomfortable and difficulty getting to sleep at night despite taking additional meds, raising the bed, and eating tiny meals during the day, with only a light dinner at 4-5 hours before bedtime, plus a Pepcid. (I already take Omeprazole twice a day before breakfast and dinner). I spoke to the doctor and he said it was probably from being off Omeprazole for two days prior to the EGD. The symptoms continued to get worse, so I called the office again a week later and the PA said it was because the stricture previously kept some of the gastric juices down, and now that it’s been stretched, the gastric juices flow freely (my words, not a direct quote). I was at a healthy weight before the EGD and dilation, but now I’m losing 2-3 pounds a week.
The PEH weakness must run in the family, because my younger brother had a PEH 20 years ago and had the Nissan fundoplication performed by a surgeon in Manhattan, Kansas. He experienced numerous problems years later and the surgeon refused to take his calls. My brother was then told by a Gastro specialist in Wichita that he needed a redo. He ended up going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and had to have his chest cut open from his sternum to his navel. The surgeon said the wrap had been done incorrectly the first time and he had to undo it and correct it. It was a painful recovery because they spent four hours scraping scar tissue. Since then he’s been much better except for occasional bloating issues and stomach pain.
My brother is urging me to go to the Mayo Clinic to have mine repaired. The thought of traveling there in the snowy winter from Colorado twice (first appointment and then later surgery) sounds so stressful to me. Has anyone had a PEH repaired by Dr. Bell in Denver, and/or what are your thoughts as to where I should have the surgery? I can have the surgery done in Denver in mid-December. Also, I’m terrified of the wrap, but I’ve been told I’m not a good candidate for Linx because of the size of my hernia.
Thanks for any feedback you may have.