SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.29 issue3RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ESOPHAGITIS GRADES AND HELICOBACTER PYLORI author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand

Journal

Article

Indicators

Related links

Share


ABCD. Arquivos Brasileiros de Cirurgia Digestiva (São Paulo)

Print version ISSN 0102-6720On-line version ISSN 2317-6326

ABCD, arq. bras. cir. dig. vol.29 no.3 São Paulo July/Sept. 2016

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0102-6720201600030001 

Original Article

LATE EVALUATION OF PATIENTS OPERATED FOR GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISEASE BY NISSEN FUNDOPLICATION

Maxwel Capsy Boga RIBEIRO1 

Amanda Bueno de ARAÚJO1 

Juverson Alves TERRA-JÚNIOR1 

Eduardo CREMA1 

Nelson Adami ANDREOLLO2 

1Clinics Hospital and Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro, Uberaba, Brazil

2Program in Sciences of Surgery, State University of Campinas, Unicamp, Campinas, SP, Brazil

ABSTRACT

Background:

Surgical treatment of GERD by Nissen fundoplication is effective and safe, providing good results in the control of the disease. However, some authors have questioned the efficacy of this procedure and few studies on the long-term outcomes are available in the literature, especially in Brazil.

Aim:

To evaluate patients operated for gastro-esophageal reflux disease, for at least 10 years, by Nissen fundoplication.

Methods:

Thirty-two patients were interviewed and underwent upper digestive endoscopy, esophageal manometry, 24 h pH monitoring and barium esophagogram, before and after Nissen fundoplication.

Results:

Most patients were asymptomatic, satisfied with the result of surgery (87.5%) 10 years after operation, due to better symptom control compared with preoperative and, would do it again (84.38%). However, 62.5% were in use of some type of anti-reflux drugs. The manometry revealed lower esophageal sphincter with a mean pressure of 11.7 cm H2O and an average length of 2.85 cm. The average DeMeester index in pH monitoring was 11.47. The endoscopy revealed that most patients had a normal result (58.06%) or mild esophagitis (35.48%). Barium swallow revealed mild esophageal dilatation in 25,80% and hiatal hernia in 12.9% of cases.

Conclusion:

After at least a decade, most patients were satisfied with the operation, asymptomatic or had milder symptoms of GERD, being better and with easier control, compared to the preoperative period. Nevertheless, a considerable percentage still employed anti-reflux medications.

HEADINGS: Gastroesophageal reflux disease; Antireflux surgery; Fundoplication; Nissen.

INTRODUCTION

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common digestive tract disorder in the western world6. It is defined when reflux of gastric content to the esophagus causes symptoms and complications21. It is estimated that 12% of the Brazilian population has GERD. Anamnesis is fundamental for the diagnosis of this condition and special attention should be paid not only to typical symptoms (heartburn and acid regurgitation), but also to atypical symptoms (oral, otorhinolaryngological, and pulmonary)13,29.

The diagnosis of the disease can be confirmed by upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, contrast radiography of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, esophageal manometry, and prolonged 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring2.

Surgical treatment of GERD by Nissen fundoplication is effective and safe, providing good results in the control of the disease8,9,19,27,31. Dysphagia, gas bloat syndrome and the inability to vomit are frequently reported by patients after surgery22,26. However, some authors have questioned the efficacy of this procedure28 and few studies on the long-term outcomes of these patients are available in the literature, especially in Brazil. In a recent meta-analysis, Garg and Gurusamy found only four studies with an appropriate design of analysis11. Spechler et al. reported good control of symptoms 10 years after surgery, although 62% of the patients still used some antireflux medication30,32. Lundell et al. found superior outcomes of surgical treatment compared to therapy with omeprazole18,32.

The objective of the present study was to evaluate patients operated for GERD by laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication after a minimum period of 10 years.

METHODS

Thirty-two patients submitted to laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication at the University Hospital of the Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro, Uberaba, MG, Brazil, between 2000 and 2005 were evaluated. The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the institution (Permit No. 2683/13). All patients had negative serology for Chagas' disease.

In addition to routine clinical evaluation, a specific questionnaire was applied to all patients to obtain information about typical and atypical symptoms of GERD. The patients were submitted to esophageal manometry, 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring, upper GI endoscopy, and barium esophagogram.

Esophageal manometry was performed using an 8-channel catheter (Zynetics, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT, USA) connected to a pneumohydraulic infusion system (Arndorfer Medical Specialties, Greendale, WI, USA). The length of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and its resting pressure (cm H2O) were evaluated, as well as the amplitude of contractions of the esophageal body and the characteristics of its peristaltic waves. The resting pressure of the upper esophageal sphincter was also measured.

In pH monitoring, the DeMeester score7,16,23 was used as a parameter, which takes into consideration six variables associated with GERD: number of acid reflux episodes, duration of these episodes, longest reflux duration, percentage of total reflux time, and percentage of reflux time in the upright and supine position. This test was performed without the use of any medication for GERD. Upper GI endoscopy was performed to evaluate the presence or absence of esophagitis and of complications of GERD. Esophagitis was classified as non-erosive or erosive using the Los Angeles criteria12.

A barium esophagogram was used to evaluate the presence of hiatal hernia and tertiary waves, as well as esophageal diameter using the radiological classification proposed by Rezende25 as a reference.

RESULTS

Symptoms and satisfaction with surgery

Table 1 shows the percentage of each symptom determined with the GERD-specific questionnaire. When asked about satisfaction with the surgery, 87.5% of the patients were satisfied and 84.38% would have the operation again. Most of the patients with late symptoms confirmed improvement in the intensity of symptoms after surgery, reflecting the high proportion of patients who were satisfied with the long-term outcomes of surgery. None of the patients reported late dysphagia and late symptoms were described as sporadic, except for the difficulty burping and inability to vomit (Table 1).

TABLE 1 Incidence of late symptoms after Nissen fundoplication 

Symptom Incidence
Diurnal heartburn 40.63%
Nocturnal heartburn 18.75%
Acid regurgitation 31.25%
Burping difficulty 37.5%
Inability to vomit 34.38%
Atypical manifestations 12.5%

However, most of the patients of this study (62.5%) used, although irregularly, some medication (proton pump inhibitors, prokinetic agents, or both). Nevertheless, these patients reported better symptom control with the medication compared to the preoperative period. Table 2 shows the percentage of medications used in the late postoperative period.

TABLE 2 Type and percentage of medications used in the late postoperative period after Nissen fundoplication 

Medication Incidence
No medication 37.5%
Proton pump inhibitor 50.01%
Prokinetic agent 9.38%
Proton pump inhibitor + prokinetic agent 3.13%

Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy

Table 3 summarizes the findings of upper GI endoscopy classified according to the Los Angeles classification. As can be seen, 35.48% of the patients had mild non-erosive esophagitis and 3.23% developed late symptoms of moderate and severe esophagitis despite fundoplication.

TABLE 3 Incidence of esophagitis according to the Los Angeles classification in the late postoperative period after Nissen fundoplication 

Grade of esophagitis Incidence (%)
No esophagitis 58.06%
Mild esophagitis (non-erosive or Los Angeles A) 35.48%
Moderate esophagitis (Los Angeles B and C) 3.23%
Severe esophagitis (Los Angeles D and complications) 3.23%

Esophageal manometry

The mean length of the LES was 2.85 cm and the mean resting pressure was 11.7 cm H2O. The mean amplitude of contraction waves in the esophageal body was 52.22 cm H2O and all patients exhibited peristaltic conduction waves during swallowing. Table 4 shows the findings of esophageal manometry in the late postoperative period after Nissen fundoplication.

TABLE 4 Manometry findings in the late postoperative period after Nissen fundoplication 

Manometry findings Incidence
Normal manometry 6.67%
Hypotony of LES 6.67%
Hypotony of UES 10%
hipocontractility of EB 13.33%
Combined hypotony of LES and hipocontractility of EB 23.33%
Combined hypotony of UES and hipocontractility of EB 10%
Combined hypotony of UES and LES 10%
Combined hypotony of UES, LES and hipocontractility of EB 20%

LES=lower esophageal sphincter; UES=upper esophageal sphincter; EB=esophageal body

Prolonged 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring

The mean DeMeester score of the present sample was 11.47, a score below the reference value that characterizes pathological reflux (up to 14.92), ranging from 0.4 to 99.1. Only 20% of the patients had a high DeMeester score 10 years after surgery.

Barium esophagogram

Table 5 shows the findings obtained according to the classification proposed by Rezende25.

TABLE 5 Postoperative radiological findings of the esophagogram of patients submitted to Nissen fundoplication 

Esophagogram Incidence
Mild esophageal dilation 19.35%
Hiatal hernia alone 6.45%
Hiatal hernia associated with esophageal dilation 6.45%
Tertiary waves alone 3.23%

The mean esophageal diameter on the esophagogram was 2.85 cm. As can be seen in Table 4, only 6.67% of the patients studied had completely normal manometry findings, while the remaining patients exhibited manometric alterations in the esophageal body and sphincters. The results in Table 5 show that a significant percentage of the patients had postoperative radiological alterations. However, none reported any degree of dysphagia, a postoperative symptom that is the main cause of concern for surgeons after fundoplication.

DISCUSSION

The short- and long-term outcomes of surgical treatment of GERD depend on different factors, including the indication for surgery because of clinical untreatability, adequate anamnesis, supplementary tests demonstrating the presence of gastroesophageal reflux, surgery observing the technical steps, and postoperative care and instructions2,13,26.

The most common antireflux surgical technique is fundoplication as proposed by Rudolf Nissen in 195624. The development and evolution of laparoscopic surgery has popularized surgical treatment of GERD4,10,15. Today, even robotic fundoplication can be performed safely with equivalent outcomes20.

Nissen fundoplication provides good short-term outcomes, although the risk of adverse events and complications is more prevalent than in clinical treatment22,26,28. Apparently, the long-term outcomes are also good, at least in terms of quality of life1,5,14, despite the need for some antireflux drug, a fact also observed in the present study.

Here, clinically, most patients were very satisfied with the postoperative result. Even patients who required medication due to less intense and persistent gastroesophageal reflux reported easier control of reflux when compared to the preoperative period. Similar results have been reported by other authors with a good level of evidence11.

At our Service, the Nissen procedure is performed as a short floppy fundoplication8 to avoid inconvenient symptoms of dysphagia and difficulty burping. The results of manometry analysis showed that the length and pressure of the LES were satisfactory even 10 years after the antireflux procedure. In addition, the amplitude of the contraction waves of the esophageal body exhibited a certain decrease, a finding that can be explained by the aging of this population. Although only a small proportion of the patients had completely normal manometry (6.67%) and most patients exhibited manometric abnormalities, these changes were not reflected in clinical worsening or the occurrence of dysphagia.

In 24-hour pH monitoring, the DeMeester score was below the reference value in 80% of the patients 10 years after surgery and the mean score was within the normal range, suggesting good control of acid reflux in these patients many years after fundoplication. Another finding of this study was the absence of esophagitis in the majority of patients; however, if detected, milder forms were observed. Moreover, no complications related to GERD (peptid stenosis, Barrett's esophagus, or adenocarcinoma) were found.

Morphologically, the barium esophagogram obtained revealed an intact esophagogastric transition zone in most cases 10 years after surgery, with topical fundoplication without hiatal hernias in 87.1% of the patients. Mild esophageal dilation considering the normal limit proposed by Rezende25 was observed in approximately one-quarter of the patients (25.08%). Pseudo-achalasia after fundoplication has been described in the literature3, a condition that could contribute to this dilation. All patients of this study had negative serology for Chagas' disease, although the disease is endemic in our region.

In the recent literature, several authors have demonstrated the advantages of Nissen fundoplication for the treatment of GERD. Amato et al. analyzed the long-term outcomes of fundoplication in 102 patients using the Short-Form 36 Health Survey and found that surgery offers improved quality of life, except for 5.8% of the patients who continued to have severe dysphagia1. Lundell et al., analyzing outcomes after 12 years of follow-up of 310 patients with GERD, concluded that antireflux surgery is superior to omeprazole in controlling manifestations of the disease, but some complaints continue even after fundoplication18. Rosemurgy et al.27 and Engstrom et al.9 who evaluated the long-term outcomes of laparoscopic fundoplication in 1,078 and 2,261 patients, respectively, reported that surgery promotes effective and durable treatment of GERD.

On the other hand, Spechler et al., analyzing the outcomes of medical and surgical treatment for GERD after 10 years in randomized groups of 239 patients, found that 92% of the medical patients and 62% of the surgical patients still used antireflux medications regularly (p<.001). The conclusion of the study was that patients should be advised not to expect that surgery will mean that they will no longer need to take antireflux medications in the future30.

Sadowitz et al. evaluating the long-term outcomes of laparoscopic fundoplication in 100 patients with GERD, 84% rated the frequency of their symptoms as less than once a month, 88% were satisfied with the postoperative results, and 95% confirmed that they would have the operation again28.

Katada et al. analyzed the long-term effects of laparoscopic fundoplication on esophageal motility in 35 patients17. The authors observed that the LES pressures did not change significantly after surgery in the group with moderate esophagitis, but significantly increased in the group with severe esophagitis. The peristaltic wave amplitudes 18 and 13 cm above the LES did not change significantly after surgery in either group. The peristaltic contraction amplitudes 8 and 3 cm above the LES did not change significantly after surgery in the group with moderate esophagitis, but increased in the group with severe esophagitis.

Finally, although late evaluation showed the need for antireflux medications in some cases, all patients had milder symptoms of GERD that were better and easier controlled at least a decade after surgery compared to the preoperative period. Furthermore, specialized workup showed a good length and pressure of the LES, a low incidence of pathological acid reflux, preserved fundoplication anatomy, a low incidence of severe esophagitis, and the absence of complications of GERD even several years after surgery, findings also observed by other authors. These results highlight the need for further well-designed studies for the long-term evaluation of Nissen fundoplication.

CONCLUSION

After at least a decade, most patients were satisfied with the operation, asymptomatic or had milder symptoms of GERD, being better and with easier control, compared to the preoperative period. Nevertheless, a considerable percentage still employed anti-reflux medications.

REFERENCES

1. Amato G, Limongelli P, Pascariello A, Rossetti G, Del Genio G, Del Genio A, Iovino P. Association between persistent symptoms and long-term quality of life after laparoscopic total fundoplication. Am J Surg. 2008;196(4):582-6. [ Links ]

2. Andreollo NA, Lopes LR, Coelho-Neto JS. Gastroesophageal reflux disease: what is the effectiveness of diagnostic tests? Arq Bras Cir Dig. 2010;33(1):6-10. [ Links ]

3. Bonavina L, Bona D, Saino G, Clemente C. Pseudoachalasia occurring after laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication and crural mesh repair. Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2007;392(5):653-6. [ Links ]

4. Dallemagne B, Weerts JM, Jehaes C, Markiewicz S, Lombard R. Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication: preliminary report. Surg Laparosc Endosc. 1991;1(3):138-43. [ Links ]

5. Davis CS, Baldea A, Johns JR, Joehl RJ, Fisichella PM. The evolution and long-term results of laparoscopic antireflux surgery for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. JSLS. 2010;14(3):332-41. [ Links ]

6. DeMeester TR, Bonavina L, Albertucci M. Nissen fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Evaluation of primary repair in 100 consecutives patients. Ann Surg. 1986; 204:9-40. [ Links ]

7. DeMeester TR, Johnson LF, Joseph GJ, Toscano MS, Hall AW, Skinner DB. Patterns of gastroesophagel reflux in health and disease. Ann Surg. 1976;184:459-66. [ Links ]

8. Donahue PE, Samelson S, Nyhus LM, Bombeck CT. The floppy Nissen fundoplication. Effective long-term control of pathologic reflux. Arch Surg. 1985;120:663-668. [ Links ]

9. Engstrom C, Cai W, Irvine T, Devitt PG, Thompson SK, Game PA, Bessell JR, Jamieson GG, Watson DI. Twenty years of experience with laparoscopic antireflux surgery. Br J Surg. 2012;99:1415-1442. [ Links ]

10. Funes HLX, Anai GK, Santos MCL, Leite APM, Salvador FC. Videolaparoscopy in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Rev Col Bras Cirurg. 2000;27(5):312-5. [ Links ]

11. Garg SK, Gurusamy KS. Laparoscopic fundoplication surgery versus medical management for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;5;11. [ Links ]

12. Genta RM, Spechler SJ, Kielhorn AF. The Los Angeles and Savary-Miller systems for grading esophagitis: utilization and correlation with histology. Dis Esophagus. 2011;24(1):10-7. [ Links ]

13. Henry MA. Diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Arq Bras Cir Dig. 2014;27(3):210-5. [ Links ]

14. Hogan WJ, Shaker R. Life after antireflux surgery. Am J Med. 2000;108 (Suppl 4a):181S-191S. [ Links ]

15. Jamieson GG, Watson DI, Britten-Jones R, Mitchell PC, Anvari M. Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. Ann Surg. 1994;220(2):137-45. [ Links ]

16. Johnson LF, DeMeester TR. Development of the 24-hour intraesopahegal pH monitoring composite system. J Clin Gastroenteol 1986;8(1):52-8. [ Links ]

17. Katada N, Moriya H, Yamashita K, Hosoda K, Sakuramoto S, Kikuchi S, Watanabe M. Laparoscopic antireflux surgery improves esophageal body motility in patients with severe reflux esophagitis. Surg Today. 2014;44(4):740-7 [ Links ]

18. Lundell L, Miettinen P, Myrvold HE, Hatlebakk JG, Wallin L, Engström C, Julkunen R, Montgomery M, Malm A, Lind T, Walan A; Nordic GERD Study Group. Comparison of outcomes twelve years after antireflux surgery or omeprazole maintenance therapy for reflux esophagitis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009;7(12):1292-1298. [ Links ]

19. Lundell L. Surgical therapy of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2010;24:947-959. [ Links ]

20. Moore M, Afaneh C, Benhuri D, Antonacci C, Abelson J, Zarnegar R. Gastroesophageal reflux disease: A review of surgical decision making. World J Gastrointest Surg. 2016;27;8(1):77-83. [ Links ]

21. Moraes-Filho JPP, Navarro-Rodrigues T, Barbuti R, Eisig J, Chinzon D, Bernardo W and the Brazilian GERD Consensus Group. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of GERD: An evident-based consensus. Arq Gastroenterol. 2010; 47:99-115. [ Links ]

22. Morais DJ, Lopes LR, Andreollo NA. Dysphagia after antireflux fundoplication: endoscopic, radiological and manometric evaluation. Arq Bras Cir Dig. 2014;27(4):251-5. [ Links ]

23. Nasi A, de Moraes-Filho JP, Cecconello I. Gastroesophageal reflux disease: an overview. Arq Gastroenterol. 2006;43(4):334-41. [ Links ]

24. Nissen R. Eine einfache operation zur beeinflussung der refluxeosophagitis. Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1956;86:590-2. [ Links ]

25. Rezende JM. Classificação radiológica do megaesôfago. Rev Goiana Med 1982;28:187-91. [ Links ]

26. Ribeiro MC, Tercioti-Júnior V, Souza-Neto JC, Lopes LR, Morais DJ, Andreollo NA. Identification of preoperative risk factors for persistent postoperative dysphagia after laparoscopic antireflux surgery. Arq Bras Cir Dig. 2013;26(3):165-9. [ Links ]

27. Rosemurgy A, Paul H, Madison L, Luberice K, Donn N, Vice M, Hernandez J, Ross SB. A single institution's experience and journey with over 1000 laparoscopic fundoplications for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am Surg. 2012;9:917-925. [ Links ]

28. Sadowitz BD, Luberice K, Bowman TA, Viso AM, Ayala DE, Ross SB, Rosemurgy AS. A single institutions's first 100 patientes undergoing laparoscopic anti-reflux fundoplications: Where are they 20n years later? Am Surg. 2015;81(8):791-7. [ Links ]

29. Silva AP, Tercioti-Junior V, Lopes LR, Coelho-Neto Jde S, Bertanha L, Rodrigues PR, Andreollo NA. Laparoscopic antireflux surgery in patients with extra esophageal symptoms related to asthma. Arq Bras Cir Dig. 2014;27(2):92-5. [ Links ]

30. Spechler SJ, Lee E, Ahnen D, Goyal RK, Hirano I, Ramirez F, Raufman JP, Sampliner R, Schnell T, Sontag S, Vlahcevic ZR, Young R, Williford W. Long-term outcome of medical and surgical therapies for gastroesophageal reflux disease: follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 2001;285 (18):2331-2338. [ Links ]

31. Watson DI, Jamieson GG, Baigrie RJ, Mathew G, Devitt PG, Game PA, Britten-Jones R. Laparoscopic surgery for gastro-oesophageal reflux: beyond the learning curve. Br J Surg. 1996;83:1284-1287. [ Links ]

32. Yates RB, Oelschlager BK. Surgical treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Surg Clin North Am. 2015;95(3):527-53. [ Links ]

Financial source: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico e Fundação de Ensino e Pesquisa de Uberaba

Received: January 12, 2016; Accepted: April 07, 2016

Correspondence: Maxwel Capsy Boga Ribeiro. E-mail - maxwelboga@yahoo.com.br

Conflicts of interest:

none

Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License