Updated: July 15, 2012 11:16AM
Q. What do you think of the TIF (transoral incisionless fundoplica
tion) procedure for relieving persistent GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease?
GERD happens when stomach acid enters the esophagus because the door between the stomach and the esophagus — the lower esophageal sphincter — won’t shut all the way. The TIF procedure uses a device called the EsophyX to fasten together reformed and refolded tissue, so that you have a solid anti-reflux door .
The procedure takes an hour or two, requires anesthesia, then there’s a day in the hospital, and you’ll be back at work a day or two after that. However, not all patients with medically resistant GERD are candidates for TIF. So go get checked out by a specialist and see if you qualify.
Q. I heard that sepsis is the No. 1 cause of hospital deaths. What is sepsis, and what are my chances of contracting it?
Sepsis (sometimes called systemic inflammatory response syndrome) strikes when the immune system becomes hyperstimulated as it fights an infection. This causes widespread inflammation that triggers formation of microscopic blood clots. This clotting can reduce blood and oxygen flow, and can cause vital organs to fail. Even though sepsis usually happens in reaction to a bacterial infection, it also can be triggered by a viral, parasitic or fungal infection.
People who have a weakened immune system — children, the elderly, people who are obese and those being treated for chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and asthma — are most at risk. Your chances of developing sepsis are slim, but when people do, it is usually because of less-than-perfect sanitary conditions.
Beating sepsis starts with a quick diagnosis and treatment, usually with IV antibiotics and fluids. The best way to avoid getting sepsis? Get vaccinated against many of the infectious diseases that can cause sepsis or make it worse, such as pneumonia. And make sure when you’re in the hospital that your visitors and all health-care providers wash their hands with sanitizer before they touch you or any medical equipment.