Objective: There is a strong association between reflux and end-stage lung disease, especially idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The presence of reflux after lung transplantation might predispose to the development of bronchiolitis obliterans. We evaluated the risk and physiologic effect of laparoscopic fundoplication in patients on the lung transplant waiting list.
Methods: One hundred forty-nine patients on the lung transplant waiting list between March 2001 and January 2005 were evaluated. Nineteen were found to have a history of reflux, continued symptoms, and severe reflux by means of pH and manometric studies and underwent laparoscopic fundoplication. The postoperative course of these 19 patients, including lung function, was retrospectively reviewed. Postoperatively, the lung function of the 14 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis who underwent the laparoscopic Nissen procedure was compared with that of 31 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on the transplant waiting list who did not undergo fundoplication.
Results: There were no perioperative complications and no decrease in lung function over the 15-month average follow-up. Exercise capacity remained stable, as determined on the basis of 6-minute walk distance. Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treated with fundoplication had stable oxygen requirements, whereas control patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on the waiting list had a statistically significant deterioration in oxygen requirement.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic fundoplication can be performed safely in patients with end-stage lung disease awaiting lung transplantation. Overall, these patients maintained stable lung function during the follow-up period. When compared with a control group of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis not undergoing fundoplication, there was stabilization of oxygen requirement. A larger prospective trial evaluating the effect of laparoscopic fundoplication on underlying lung function in this patient population is warranted.