Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Introduces Non-Surgical Procedure To Treat Acid Reflux

Dr. John Rodriguez, the Digestive Disease Institute’s department chair of general surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Patients with acid reflux can now benefit from an innovative non-surgical procedure to reduce their symptoms newly available at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health.

Affecting around 20% of adults, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux is a condition in which acid-containing contents of the stomach regularly leak back into the esophagus causing bothersome symptoms. Caused by weakness in the valve between the stomach and the esophagus that prevents it from closing properly, it can result in a range of symptoms from a sour taste in the mouth to difficulty swallowing, vomiting and severe pain in the chest.

“We can all experience sporadic acid reflux a few times in our lives. However, in a much smaller subset of people, the symptoms can be persistent causing severe discomfort that really affects a person’s quality of life. In many cases, the symptoms can be somewhat controlled with watching what we eat, but for many others a lifelong combination of medications and lifestyle modifications will be necessary.  These symptoms can be very upsetting and change their lives dramatically,” says Dr. John Rodriguez, the Digestive Disease Institute’s department chair of general surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.   

Chronic acid reflux can often be managed with medication to reduce symptoms. However, for many patients worried about side effects or hesitant to rely on daily medication, surgery was previously the only other option available. The introduction of transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Digestive Disease Institute means patients can now opt for a third approach to reduce their symptoms.    

During the minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure, doctors approach the valve between the stomach and the esophagus through the mouth and use a specialized device to restore and support the valve’s function. They do this by creating a ring of tissue around the valve and anchoring it in place with small, extra strong fasteners. By approaching the valve through the mouth, no incisions are needed, and the procedure is done with no need for a hospital admission. Even though the approach is non-surgical, research shows the procedure can be as effective as more invasive surgery.

“This new and innovative procedure is a fantastic option to bridge the gap between daily medication and surgery. It offers patients an effective and minimally invasive way to reduce their acid reflux symptoms as well as surgery would, but without the associated complexity or recovery time. For the vast majority of patients, it also means they no longer need to rely on medication and can live free of the sometimes debilitating symptoms they once experienced,” concludes Dr. Rodriguez.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Digestive Disease Institute offers patients a specialized acid reflux clinic designed to provide a one-stop shop for the diagnosis, management and treatment of acid reflux and associated conditions. Patients can benefit from a full suite of medical, surgical and other approaches to manage their condition as well as specialist dietary advice to match their individual needs from the clinic’s dieticians.   

About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi:

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is a multispecialty hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 394 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain began offering select medical services in December 2017. The facility is located on the Tawam Hospital Campus in Al Ain.

About Mubadala Health:

Mubadala Health is the integrated healthcare network of Mubadala Investment Company. Established 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Amana Healthcare, Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), and National Reference Laboratory (NRL). In addition, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is an integral part of Mubadala Health. With a vision to transform the regional healthcare landscape, Mubadala Health sets a new benchmark for the UAE and regional healthcare industry through its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class caregivers who strive to put patients first across its continuum of care. Innovation, research, and education are the foundational pillars of Mubadala Health, supporting the further development of a sustainable healthcare sector in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi and the region.