Has anyone had this happen?

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Ian Victor
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 214
   Posted 7/12/2013 11:47 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been posting on this forum for a month or so and we all share common ailments related to GERD or are recovering from some type of anti-reflux procedure. My Nissen is scheduled for August 28th. I have not heard anyone describe reflux episodes like mine-- resulting in an a visit to the ER. My reflux happens in the middle of night. Pure liquid stomach acid regurgitates up my esophagus and is then inhaled into my trachea and lungs. This results in excruciating pain from the stomach acid. I then choke, cough and gasp for air. It's a terrifying experience. Only a treatment from the hospital will help. They give me a GI solution to drink. The solution numbs the esophagus and neutralizes acid. My throat is then sore and raw for several days. Has anyone else had this experience?

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 7/12/2013 4:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Ian, yes, that is exactly what I experienced which lead to me seeking out a GI doctor and surgeon after years of heartburn/reflux. I never went to the ER when it happened to me but I would wake up coughing, choking, and gasping, and would be awake for hours afterword in excruciating pain, and usually have a raw/tender sensation in my chest for a few days afterword.

I had a toupet (partial Nissen) about 12 weeks ago and have not had any episodes since then (or any heartburn, either.) Have you discussed this condition with your GI doctor and/or surgeon? I believe it is not uncommon in severe cases of GERD. Make sure you do your homework on your surgeon before your surgery; you want someone who has a lot of experience with this kind of procedure. I hope you find some relief.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 7/12/2013 6:44 PM (GMT -6)   

Another Mod, Dencha, had the same problem and is doing very well since her Nissen about 3 years ago I believe. Also Couchtater had this issue and had the Hill nissen done and has been doing very well also.

Take care,
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn, Kidney disease

Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 8/24/11

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 7/12/2013 8:34 PM (GMT -6)   
I had the night chokes too, back when my lower esophageal sphincter was stuck wide open. It stopped after my Toupet.

While you are waiting for surgery don't eat within 4 hours of going to bed, no drinking anything but a little water either. Sleep propped up - bed lifts or the couch or a recliner, whatever works. You don't want to get pneumonia from inhaling stomach contents.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 7/12/2013 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ian,
I had asthma before my reflux issues, but over the years my reflux got worse and worse.  Finally about 6 years before I finally had my surgery (Feb. '09) my lungs got extremely bad.  My asthma was uncontrollable.  My PCP said that my lung condition was "life threatening". 
My GI doc didn't think my reflux was bad enough to cause problems with my lungs (my asthma doc said that GI docs don't have a clue as to how just a small amount of reflux can create havoc with lungs).   I had 24 hr PH monitor tests with results that were always within or just above the normal range. 
Finally after several years of my PCP and asthma docs trying to work through my GI doc to get me into surgery, my PCP referred me to a surgeon himself. I saw the surgeon, and because I knew (from this forum) how important it was to have a highly experienced Nissen surgeon, I went back once more to my GI doc with the test results from the surgeon I'd seen.
Finally, the GI doc said that "probably a few good reflux events would be enough to get your lungs going.  You can either continue with medications, or could consult a surgeon (no rush)."  I chose the surgical route, because I was already at peak PPI meds and Rantidine at bedtime.  Three weeks after my consultation with the surgeon I had my Nissen.  It took two and a half months for my lungs to heal, but they've been great since.  I'm so happy I had the surgery.  What a huge difference it has had on my life.
Over the course of the past four years I've been on this forum, I've read reports from quite a few people who've had experiences similar to yours. 
Another member who was on the forum when I first joined had developed COPD from the severe reflux episodes she had.  I don't think that aspiration issues like the ones you've described are to be taken lightly.  Unlike my situation, when asthma made small amounts of reflux an issue because of reactivity and forced me into action--your situation is more dire.  Left untreated and ignored, your reflux could cause permanent damage to your lungs.  Fortunately for me, my asthma made me so reactive that I had to get help (from even small amounts of reflux) before permanent damage occurred.
In my opinion you are doing exactly the right thing by having your Nissen.  I am certain that your quality of life will improve exponentially.
Best wishes!
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

Ian Victor
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 214
   Posted 7/12/2013 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie-- My last episode which resulted in an ER visit was after a period of 10 hours without food. All it takes is a small amount of gastric acid to shoot up the esophagus-- and that can happen on an empty stomach.

Maggie- My surgeon has performed over 600 Nissen. His the best in his field in this area of the country.
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