Background and aim: The efficacy of antireflux surgery (ARS) and omeprazole treatment in the control of gastrooesophageal reflux disease (GORD) are well established. We have compared these two therapeutic options in a randomized, clinical trial.
Patients and methods: Three hundred and ten patients with erosive oesophagitis were enrolled into the trial. After a run-in period when all patients had < or = 40 mg of omeprazole daily to heal the oesophagitis and relieve symptoms, 155 patients were randomized to continuous omeprazole therapy and 155 to open antireflux surgery, of whom 144 later had an operation. One hundred and thirty-nine and 129 in the omeprazole and antireflux surgery groups, respectively, completed the 3-year follow-up. Symptoms, 24-h pH monitoring and endoscopy were used to document the outcome. Quality of life was evaluated by the psychological general well-being (PGWB) index and the gastrointestinal symptom rating scale (GSRS).
Results: Analysis of time to treatment failure (defined as moderate to severe GORD symptoms for > or = 3 days during the last 7 days, oesophagitis or changed therapy) revealed a significant difference in favour of antireflux surgery (P = 0.0016). Seventeen patients originally submitted to antireflux surgery experienced symptom relapse alone, 14 had oesophagitis at endoscopy and another six had omeprazole for different reasons, leaving 97 patients in clinical remission after 3 years. The corresponding figures in the omeprazole arm were 50 relapses, 18 with oesophagitis, two had surgery, leaving 77 patients in remission. Allowing a dose adjustment in the case of relapse in those on omeprazole therapy to either 40 or 60 mg, the curves describing the failure rates were not significantly different from each other. Quality of life assessment showed a comparable outcome in the two study groups.
Conclusion: In this randomized multicentre trial we found antireflux surgery to be very efficacious in controlling GORD, a level of control which could also be achieved by omeprazole provided that advantage was taken of the opportunity of adjusting the dose.