Gateshead mother underwent life-changing surgery which allows her to eat solid food again after being fed through a tube.
Jessica Archer, 26 years old, from Lobley Hill, had been diagnosed with a condition called Achalasia, meaning she hasn’t been able to eat and was getting fed through a tube down her nose.
Jessica said, “It’s not just my life it has impacted, it’s the kids as well. They’ve seen me so poorly, not being able to move off the sofa for ten hours, being stuck on the tube and now we’re so much more free to do a lot more things.”
The POEM procedure (peroral endoscopic myotomy) is a endoscopic (camera) procedure to treat swallowing disorders caused by muscle problems of the lower end of the esophagus. The procedure uses an endoscope — a narrow flexible tube with a camera — that is inserted through the mouth (peroral) to cut muscles in the esophagus.
As it is done with an endoscope, it means it is minimally invasive in comparison to a big surgical operation. This is still a rare procedure and is currently only given to roughly 50 people per year in the UK.
Three consultants from Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees NHS Foundation Trust have worked together to perform this procedure. In doing so, the team also have won a Highly Commended Award at the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) Annual Awards 2022.
Consultant Gastroenterologist from Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Jamie Barbour said: “It’s really exciting because endoscopic treatments are developing at a really fast rate and we’re now able to treat patients like Jessica.
“It’s one of the many treatments we can use not only for a condition like Jessica but other conditions such as polyps or early cancers.”
Professor Anjan Dhar, Consultant from Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The development of the regional POEM service has been a collaborative initiative between three experienced endoscopists in the North East, to offer a new treatment for achalasia. This development demonstrates the success of new treatments being made available by the NHS.”
Prof Viswanath YKS from South Tees NHS Foundation Trust said: “Any achalasia patient life can’t become better by chance; it gets better only by change. In Jessica’s case, it is through the special endoscopic technique that was undertaken successfully.”
She is a young mother of two so this procedure will be life changing for her. Jessica underwent surgery on Monday 27th June and will be able to eat solid food again by the end of July.