Huntington Beach resident Edward Soria, 68, was among the 20 percent of Americans that frequently struggle with heartburn and acid reflux¹. After months of using over-the-counter medication in an attempt to ease his symptoms, he consulted with his primary care physician. Edward learned he had gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and was prescribed stronger antacids as well as proton pump inhibitors, which reduce stomach acid production.
After several years of trying to manage his symptoms with medication and other methods, like eating well and sleeping in an upright position, his condition only worsened. Edward consulted with Atif Iqbal, M.D., F.A.C.S, F.A.S.M.B.S., medical director of the Digestive Care Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center. Board-certified and fellowship-trained, Dr. Iqbal specializes in minimally invasive bariatric procedures and digestive disorder surgeries.
“If acid indigestion happens occasionally, over-the-counter medications can help. However, if it happens more often, I discourage self-treatment,” said Dr. Iqbal. “If left untreated, the constant backflow of acid can cause chronic inflammation in the lining of the esophagus, which may eventually lead to esophageal cancer. Edward did the right thing by scheduling a consultation and getting a proper diagnosis, allowing us to treat the root issue.”
“I could not be more grateful for Dr. Iqbal and the team at the Digestive Care Center,” Edward said. “Feeling as well as I do, Dr. Iqbal also inspired me to continue to live an overall healthier lifestyle, from dietary choices to my exercise routine. My quality of life has vastly improved!”
In most cases, severe GERD is caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a circular bundle of muscles that control the flow of food and liquid from the esophagus to the stomach. To pinpoint the source of Edward’s condition, Dr. Iqbal reviewed Edward’s endoscopy and X-rays of his upper gastrointestinal tract. He then monitored the pH levels in Edward’s esophagus for 48 hours with a Bravo™ capsule test and found that he had severe GERD and a moderate hiatal hernia.
On Nov. 10, 2020, Dr. Iqbal performed a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication surgery on Edward, a minimally invasive procedure that treats severe GERD and hiatal hernia. During surgery, the top part of the stomach is gently moved back into the abdominal cavity. The stomach is then wrapped around the esophagus, which supports the weak LES and prevents the backflow of acid.
1. “Acid Reflux.” American College of Gastroenterology.
The Digestive Care Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center
Made of a multidisciplinary team of expert gastroenterologists and surgeons, the Digestive Care Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center offers a comprehensive program for the diagnosis and treatment of GERD, motility disorders, and benign and cancerous diseases of the upper gastrointestinal system – the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the entrance of the small intestine that connects to the stomach).
“GERD is one of many issues we treat at the Digestive Care Center,” Dr. Iqbal said. “We have leading-edge equipment for diagnosis and treatment, and our team of experts has extensive experience in pathology, including very complicated esophageal and stomach conditions.”
With the LINX® Reflux Management System – which strengthens a weak LES through the implementation of a small ring of magnetic spheres – state-of-the-art technology like the da Vinci® robotic-assisted surgical system, and a multidisciplinary team of experts, the Digestive Care Center treats a wide array of digestive needs.
Toward Weight Loss
Dina Miller loses excess weight after a successful gastric sleeve procedure.
For 50-year-old Irvine resident Dina Miller, a family trip to the Grand Canyon was a major wakeup call. At 5’3” and 263 pounds, she struggled to climb the stairs to the rim. Finding it difficult to keep up with her children, she realized that she needed to make a change.
After meeting Michael Russo, M.D., bariatric surgeon with MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, Dina decided to move forward with gastric sleeve surgery, which permanently removes 80 percent of the stomach. In turn, the psychological and physical responses to food and hunger are reduced.
Mir Ali, M.D., bariatric surgeon and medical director of the MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center, teamed up with Dr. Russo to perform Dina’s successful gastric sleeve procedure on May 15, 2017.
Dina’s original goal was to lose 80 percent of her excess weight in the first year after surgery, but she met that milestone at only six months post-operation.
“I was highly motivated and, thanks to the team at the MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center, very well prepared,” Dina said.
As patients lose weight, obesity-related health conditions are often resolved – including high blood pressure, sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes. According to Dr. Russo, there is so much more to gain when it comes to losing weight.
“I see our patients’ quality of life improve after weight loss,” Dr. Russo said. “They pursue more education, advance in their jobs and start doing the things they’ve always wanted to do.”
The MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center
The MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center is accredited as a Comprehensive Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®) for medical expertise and a history of successful outcomes.
“Weight loss surgery is a valuable tool, but for long-term success, patients need a comprehensive program,” said Dr. Ali. “We address the patient’s physical, psychological and nutritional needs through in-depth classes, counseling and group support, as well as annual visits following the procedure.”
Edinger Medical Group Recognized for Excellence in Healthcare
Edinger Medical Group (EMG) is proud to receive the 2021 Excellence in Healthcare Award by the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA). Representing the highest level of achievement, recipients of this award have reached strong quality and patient experience results while effectively managing the total cost of care.
This year, just 21 out of nearly 200 eligible provider organizations in California have received the award, and of those winners, Edinger Medical Group was among the top 10 percent for the clinical quality category. For 17 years in a row, Edinger Medical Group has been consistently recognized by the IHA for quality of care.
While this award is certainly an achievement any year, the fact that Edinger Medical Group continued to deliver exceptional care during the COVID-19 pandemic makes this year’s acknowledgment even more special. Edinger Medical Group owes this recognition to the physicians, nurse practitioners and support staff for their dedication to the group and its patients.