Background: Most patients with cough and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) improve on medical treatment with proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Nonresponders may be considered for antireflux surgery, but the selection of patients is difficult.
Methods: We have performed laparoscopic Nissen fundoplications (LNF) in 677 patients. Of these patients, 81% have undergone 6-month follow-up assessment with 24-h pH testing, esophageal manometry, symptom scores, and quality-of-life scores.
Results: LNF controlled heartburn in 93% and improved cough in 81%. Stepwise multiple regression showed that the preoperative cough score (r = 0.620, p <0.0001) and change in cough on and off PPI (r = 0.296, p = 0.0002) predicted improvement after surgery. A positive result on a randomized acid infusion test was associated with a greater improvement in cough after surgery (p = 0.0243).
Conclusion: An acid infusion test and assessment of cough on and off PPI may be useful preoperative tools for the selection of patients with cough for LNF.