Heartburn Treatment Center opens at BMC

The center aims to tackle gastrointestinal issues

Officials cut the ribbon for the Heartburn Treatment Center at Bayonne Medical Center on June 16.
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Officials cut the ribbon for the Heartburn Treatment Center at Bayonne Medical Center on June 16.

The Heartburn Treatment Center at CarePoint Health’s Bayonne Medical Center has officially opened.

Dr. Kovil Ramasamy, MD, and Dr. Jonell George, DO, lead the center in treating patients with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in collaboration with providers from BMC Specialty Care Gastroenterology and others.

“The heartburn center is another milestone of success in our advanced GI program at CarePoint Health at Bayonne Medical Center,” Ramsamy said. “It will help serve the community in diagnosing and treating all aspects of peptic ulcer disease and dysmotility disorders.”

Chief Hospital Executive Dr. Vijay Singh detailed the new treatment center while it was in early stages in March. There had been heartburn treatment at Bayonne Medical Center prior to the center’s opening, but now the services are in one location.

Expanding services

Mayor James Davis joined hospital officials to cut the ribbon at the new space. He thanked hospital workers and spoke on the timeliness of the center’s opening.

“Let me tell everyone here who works at Bayonne Hospital, I got your back,” Davis said. “I am doing everything possible to ensure this hospital will never leave … I don’t care who comes in and who runs the hospital and wants to make x amount of dollars. As far as I’m concerned, health care should not be about dollar and cents, it should be about common sense.”

“Thank you all for what you’ve all done for the last year and a half. It’s probably been the toughest time in all of our lives. I couldn’t think of a better time to open up a heartburn center,” Davis joked, adding that the hospital should open up a blood pressure center next.

Treating chronic pain

More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once, and some studies have suggested that more than 15 million Americans experience symptoms each day. GERD is mainly a clinical diagnosis based on typical symptoms of heartburn and acid regurgitation.

The Heartburn Treatment Center provides a single point of access for patients to receive treatment for GERD. Patients coming through the center can expect physician consultations, advanced diagnostic testing, and follow-up care in the same location.

Methods of diagnosing GERD or other heartburn-related issues include pH testing, esophageal manometry, and capsule endoscopy.

Diagnosing the issue

First, the pH levels in the patient’s esophagus are analyzed. This is a noninvasive process using the Bravo test in which a small capsule on the esophageal wall assesses whether the patient has high or low acidic fluid in the esophagus, which can cause heartburn.

The next step is to check motility. This is done through esophageal manometry, which measures pressure and motor function of the esophagus. This evaluates how well muscles in the esophagus work to move liquids or food from the mouth into the stomach and checks for abnormalities or pathologies during that process.

If that is normal, then a patient would be given a noninvasive endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy deploys a tiny wireless camera inside a vitamin-size capsule that the patient swallows. The camera takes pictures of the patient’s digestive tract.

The data is analyzed by specialized doctors during a follow-up visit.

Get treatment

According to Ramasamy, these tests are crucial for appropriate diagnosis and treatment for patients whose heartburn and regurgitation symptoms do not respond to medications. Employing this innovative technology, the heartburn experts offer patients a timely diagnosis and a coordinated care plan for relief and enhanced quality of life.

Patients can schedule an appointment by calling 1-888-4HT-BURN, or 1-888-448-2876. The center is within Bayonne Medical Center at 29 E. 29th St.

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