First in Kind Heartburn Center of California established to combat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

A chronic and often progressive ailment affecting 1 out of 5 people

Walnut Creek, CA — October 14, 2014Dr. Wilson Tsai, in partnership with Bay Area Surgical Specialists (BASS) announces the establishment of the Heartburn Center of California to combat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a chronic and often progressive disease affecting 64 million Americans. The visionary and holistic approach of diagnosing and treating the disease at the Heartburn Center of California goes beyond addressing the symptoms of GERD, but looks to diagnose the cause and treat the condition at the source.

“Medications that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach can be effective in alleviating the burning sensation in the chest caused by GERD,” said Dr. Wilson Tsai, Program Director at Heartburn Center of California. However, for chronic sufferers, this might be masking an underlying structural issue such as a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) or hiatal hernia. If these structural issues are treated solely with medications, stomach contents including bile can continue to flow back into the esophagus, potentially leading to Barrett’s esophagus, which can lead to esophageal cancer” he continued.

Progressive & Holistic Approach

The Heartburn Center of California will work with patients to diagnose the cause of the heartburn, reflux and other symptoms and prescribe a customized treatment plan. This could be lifestyle changes, medications or minimally invasive procedures. These procedures vary depending on the diagnosis. They may include the LINX® System, which involves laparoscopic placement of a small, magnetic band around the LES allowing food and liquid to pass into the stomach but prevents stomach content from flowing back up into the esophagus. In a recent study[1], those receiving the device reported that quality of life scores improved 85% on average and antacid medications were discontinued by 82%.

Some patients will have developed Barrett’s esophagus, a condition marked by an abnormal change of cells in the lower esophagus, which can lead to esophageal cancer, the physician may prescribe Barrx Radiofrequency Abalation (RFA) treatment. This is a very specific type of ablation, in which thermal (heat) energy is delivered in a precise and highly controlled manner eliminating the Barrett’s tissue. Clinical studies have demonstrated the Barrett’s tissue can be completely eliminated with Barrx RFA technology in 98% of patients.[2]


The first office of the Heartburn Center of California is located within the BASS offices at 365 Lennon Lane, Suite 250, Walnut Creek CA 94598.

LINX®, Barrx RFAand other minimally invasive, laparoscopic, anti-reflux reflux procedures are conducted at Sutter Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, CA

Minimally invasive, laparoscopic, anti-reflux reflux procedures are also performed at John Muir Health’s Medical Center in Concord and Walnut Creek, CA


Heartburn Center of California

            The Heartburn Center of California was established to provide specialized and focused care to patients suffering from esophageal and digestive disorders resulting in what is commonly known as heartburn. The Center is dedicated to providing very specialized medical professionals with in depth knowledge and focused technics in diagnosing and treating ailments that result in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also referred to as heartburn.

The holistic and methodical approach to diagnosis and treatment by the Center contribute to a high success rate in identifying and addressing the root cause of the heartburn as opposed to just treating the symptoms of this increasingly common ailment.

According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), “Up to 60 percent of the population at some time during the year, and 20 to 30 percent weekly, experience symptoms of [GERD], such as heartburn and acid regurgitation.”[3] With such a high prevalence and few organizations focused specifically on accurately diagnosing and treating the disease, the healthcare professionals at the Heartburn Center of California are unique in their dedication and focus on esophageal and digestive disorders in particular as they pertain to GERD or heartburn.

The LINX Reflux Management System

LINX is a small implant comprised of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores. The magnetic attraction between the beads augments the existing esophageal sphincter’s barrier function to prevent reflux. The device is implanted using a standard laparoscopic procedure and is an alternative to fundoplication, commonly used in surgical anti-reflux procedures. The LINX® Reflux Management System is indicated for those patients diagnosed with Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) as defined by abnormal pH testing, and who continue to have chronic GERD symptoms despite maximum medical therapy for the treatment of reflux.

LINX does require a surgical procedure and is associated with potential risks, contraindications and life style modifications. For more information on LINX, including a statement of risks, please visit

Torax Medical

Torax Medical, Inc. is a privately held medical device company headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota that develops and markets products designed to treat sphincter disorders utilizing its technology platform, Magnetic Sphincter Augmentation (MSA). Torax Medical is currently marketing the LINX® Reflux Management System for the treatment of GERD in the U.S. and Europe and the FENIX™ Continence Restoration System for the treatment of Fecal Incontinence (FI) in Europe. For more information, please visit


Covidien is a leading global health care products company that creates innovative medical solutions for better patient outcomes and delivers value through clinical leadership and excellence. Covidien develops, manufactures and sells a diverse range of industry-leading medical device and supply products. With 2013 revenue of $10.2 billion, Covidien has more than 38,000 employees worldwide in more than 70 countries, and its products are sold in over 150 countries. Please visit to learn more about our business.

Sutter Eden Medical Center

The new Eden Medical Center opened on December 1, 2012. Eden is an award-winning, 130-bed, full-service acute care hospital. Since the original Eden Hospital opened in 1954, we have proudly served the communities of Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon and surrounding areas.

Investing in the most advanced technology, and recruiting top-notch physicians, Eden has been named a national “Top Performer” in key quality measures by the Joint Commission. Eden Medical Center offers excellence in inpatient and outpatient care.

Eden Medical Center is part of the Sutter Health network of care, connecting our patients to medical experts across Northern California. In the East Bay, Eden and Sutter Health affiliates Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Sutter Delta Medical Center and Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation provide seamless, comprehensive care throughout our region.



Alex Arvanitidis


For more information on the Heartburn Center of California, please visit:

[1] Martin Riegler, Sebastian Schoppman, et al. Magnetic sphincter augmentation and fundoplication for GERD in clinical practice: one-year results of a multicenter, prospective observational study, “Surgical Endoscopy”, Published online: 30 August 2014

[2] Fleischer DE, Overholt BF, Sharma VK, et al. Endoscopic ablation of Barrett’s esophagus: a multicenter study with 2.5-year follow-up. Gastrointest Endosc 2008; 68:867-76

[3] Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s (HCUP) “Statistical Brief #44″