Who is a Candidate?
Not all paraesophageal hernias cause symptoms. In these cases, the hernia may be unnoticed and untreated. In other cases, patients may experience mild symptoms. These include acid reflux, heartburn, chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, or GERD. Some patients may be able to discuss these symptoms with their physician and relieve them through over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes.
However, some patients may require surgery in order to get relief from their symptoms. Additionally, if the physician determines that the patient is at risk for their hernia becoming strangulated, then they will recommend surgery. Strangulation means that the hernia could potentially cut off circulation to the surrounding tissue, which can be serious or even deadly. The patient should also report any bleeding or narrowing of the esophagus, because this could indicate an esophageal stricture that needs to be treated with surgery as well. The physician should also consider the patient’s overall medical history, medications, and risk level prior to recommending this procedure. It is particularly important to eliminate other possible causes of bleeding or chest pain before the procedure.