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Diagnosed with hiatal hernia. Pain in upper back, nausea, heart palpitations. Is it the right time to undergo a surgery?

Dec 2012
User rating for this question
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Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1694 Questions
yES I am trying to find out how extensive the repair of a hiatal hernia is. I was diagnosed with one in 2006 -did not get it fixed at that time however, now it seems to be causing a lot of problems - I have pain in my upper back and a lot of nausea, burning sensations inside my esphoegus but more importantly it seems to be cutting off my blood supply when I bend over or certain times when I lay down. It causes heart palpitations and generally just do not feel good all the time. I am 72 years old and am wondering about having the surgery done at this age.
Posted Sat, 10 Aug 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 2 hours later

Thanks for posting on XXXXXXX

The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

Reducing the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus (gastroesophageal reflux) will relieve pain. Medications that neutralize stomach acid, decrease acid production, or strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that prevents acid from backing up into the esphagus) may be prescribed.

Other measures to reduce symptoms include:

Avoiding large or heavy meals
Not lying down or bending over right after a meal
Reducing weight and not smoking

If these measures do not control the symptoms, or you have complications, you may need surgery to repair the hernia.
Now as your questions involves surgery, I will throw more light into this.
Decision to operate depends on the hitial hernia/ patient state and on the physician. The paraesophageal hernia may strangulate and frequently is operated on prophylactically to prevent this complication. It may present as a potentially life-threatening complciation of strangulation and prompt surgical repair is key. Surgery is necessary only in the minority of patients with complications of GERD despite aggressive treatment with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Three major types of surgical procedures correct GERD and repair the nernia in the process. The can be performed by open laparotomy or with laparoscopic approaches, which currently are being employed more frequently
Various surgical techniques are available and the one your doctor will use will depend on him/her. Most of them are safe and even though you are an aged individual, it might come with some side effects.
I suggest, you discuss with your physician about all the various complications that might arise as it is your right to be told.

Hope this helps and wish you the best.
Dr. Nsah
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