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Long-Term Outcome of Antireflux Surgery in Patients With Barrett’s Esophagus

Annals of Surgery
Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer) - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Publication Date
  • Scientific Papers Of The American Surgical Association
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Objective To assess the long-term outcome of antireflux surgery in patients with Barrett’s esophagus. Summary Background Data The prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus is increasing, and its treatment is problematic. Antireflux surgery has the potential to stop reflux and induce a quiescent mucosa. Its long-term outcome, however, has recently been challenged with reports of poor control of reflux and the inability to prevent progression to cancer. Methods The outcome of antireflux surgery was studied in 97 patients with Barrett’s esophagus. Follow-up was complete in 88% (85/97) at a median of 5 years. Fifty-nine had long-segment and 26 short-segment Barrett’s. Patients with intestinal metaplasia of the cardia were excluded. Fifty patients underwent a laparoscopic procedure, 20 a transthoracic procedure, and 3 abdominal Nissen operations. Nine had a Collis-Belsey procedure and three had other partial wraps. Outcome measures included relief of reflux symptoms (all), patients’ perception of the result (all), upper endoscopy and histology (n = 79), and postoperative 24-hour pH monitoring (n = 21). Results At a median follow-up of 5 years, reflux symptoms were absent in 67 of 85 patients (79%). Eighteen (20%) developed recurrent symptoms; four had returned to taking daily acid-suppression medication. Seven patients underwent a secondary repair and were asymptomatic, increasing the eventual successful outcome to 87%. Recurrent symptoms were most common in patients undergoing Collis-Belsey (33%) and laparoscopic Nissen (26%) procedures and least common after a transthoracic Nissen operation (5%). The results of postoperative 24-hour pH monitoring were normal in 17 of 21 (81%). Recurrent hiatal hernias were detected in 17 of 79 patients studied; 6 were asymptomatic. Seventy-seven percent of the patients considered themselves cured, 22% considered their condition to be improved, and 97% were satisfied. Low-grade dysplasia regressed to nondysplastic Barrett’s in 7 of 16 (44%), and intestinal metaplasia regressed to cardiac mucosa in 9 of 63 (14%). Low-grade dysplasia developed in 4 of 63 (6%) patients. No patient developed high-grade dysplasia or cancer in 410 patient-years of follow-up. Conclusions After antireflux surgery, most patients with Barrett’s enjoy long-lasting relief of reflux symptoms, and nearly all patients consider themselves cured or improved. Mild symptoms recur in one fifth. Importantly, dysplasia regressed in nearly half of the patients in whom it was present before surgery, intestinal metaplasia disappeared in 14% of patients, and high-grade dysplasia and adenocarcinoma were prevented in all.

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