Laparoscopic fundoplication for symptomatic but physiologic gastroesophageal reflux

J Gastrointest Surg. Sep-Oct 2001;5(5):462-7. doi: 10.1016/s1091-255x(01)80083-4.


Esophageal pH monitoring identifies some patients who have physiologic amounts of esophageal acid exposure but have a strong correlation between symptoms of esophageal reflux events. These patients with symptomatic physiologic reflux probably have enhanced sensory perception of reflux events and may be difficult to control with acid-suppressive therapy. Little is known about the role of fundoplication in such patients. Patients with no endoscopic evidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease and a normal 24-hour pH composite score (<22.4 in our laboratory), but a symptom index (SI = number of symptoms with pH <4/total number of symptoms) greater than 50% were offered laparoscopic fundoplication if acid-suppressive therapy was unsatisfactory. This group comprised 18 (4%) of 459 patients undergoing fundoplication at our institution. Heartburn, dysphagia, and reflux symptoms were scored on a scale of 0 to 10 with patients on and off medicine preoperatively, and at a mean of 7.2 months (range 1 to 32 months) postoperatively. The 18 patients with symptomatic physiologic reflux (6 males and 12 females) had heartburn as a major complaint. Preoperative response to proton pump inhibitors for heartburn was 72% and for all symptoms was 60%. The group had a mean pH composite score of 14 (range 4 to 22). The symptom used to calculate the symptom index was heartburn in 12 patients, regurgitation in three, chest pain in two, and cough in one. An average of 18 symptoms (range 2 to 56) were recorded. The mean symptom index was 82% (range 50% to 100%). A Nissen fundoplication was performed in nine patients and a Toupet fundoplication in nine. Surgery was successful (>90%) in alleviating reflux symptoms in 14 patients and partially successful (>75%) in three of the remaining four patients. Gas bloat and dysphagia were seen in one patient each. Fundoplication is effective at relieving reflux symptoms in carefully selected patients with symptomatic physiologic reflux, with minimal side effects.

MeSH terms

  • Esophagus / physiology
  • Female
  • Fundoplication*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / surgery*
  • Heartburn / diagnosis
  • Heartburn / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors


  • Proton Pump Inhibitors