Background: Laparoscopic antireflux surgery (LARS) corrects significant physiologic and anatomic abnormalities in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); however, debate exists whether LARS prevents recurrent symptoms and malignant transformation in patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE). This study compared clinical outcomes after LARS in patients with and without BE.
Methods: From 1994 to 2001, 448 patients who underwent LARS were studied. Of these, 68 (15%) had preoperative evidence of BE with low-grade dysplasia in 3 (4%), and 380 (85%) were without BE. Mean postoperative follow-up was more than 30 months in each group.
Results: After LARS, there was equivalent reduction in acid reduction medication use and typical GERD symptoms in both groups. Anatomic failures developed in 12% of patients with BE and in 5% of those without BE (P = 0.05). Upper endoscopy with biopsies was obtained in 50 of 68 patients (74%) with BE at 37 +/- 22 months postoperatively. Intestinal metaplasia was no longer present in 7 of 50 (14%) BE patients, and low-grade dysplasia regressed to nondysplastic Barrett's in 2 of 3 patients. New low-grade dysplasia developed in 1 BE patient (2%) at postoperative endoscopic surveillance. No BE patients developed high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma.
Conclusions: After LARS, patients with BE have symptomatic relief and reduction in medication use equivalent to non-BE patients. Regression of intestinal metaplasia and the absence of progression to high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma suggest that LARS is an effective approach for the management of patients with Barrett's esophagus. The higher failure rate of LARS in BE is of concern and mandates ongoing follow-up of these patients.